Technical Specs | Frequently Asked Questions | Credits

To take the the MIT Virtual Tour, you need a frames-capable browser and the QuickTime plug-in. (Unix users: If you have a QuickTime-capable helper application, you'll be able to view the full-motion video on this tour, but not the QuickTime VR.) You don't need JavaScript to progress through the tour, but the place names that pop up when you roll your cursor across a yellow dot appear only if you have JavaScript turned on.

If you prefer to take the tour without frames, we offer a text listing of all tour locations.

Now, some key terms.

QuickTime VR panorama
QuickTime VR is a technology developed by Apple Computer that represents a three-dimensional environment. Panoramas consist of a single 360-degree photograph with both ends "connected," giving you the illusion of traveling through an entire room or location. Some of the QuickTime VR movies in the Virtual Tour show only part of the full 360-degree spectrum.

QuickTime Movie
A QuickTime movie is simply a full-motion video, playable by any application that can handle movies.

QuickTime VR Object Movie
Object movies provide a 360-degree view of a single object, allowing you to rotate the object as if you had it in your hands.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I navigate a QuickTime VR movie?
To navigate either kind of Quicktime VR movie, simply click and drag with your cursor around the movie window. You can zoom in or out with the magnifying glass tool in your QuickTime VR player; alternatively, hold down the Control key and the left mouse button to zoom out, or Shift and the left button to zoom in. (Macintosh users may use the single mouse button along with Control or Shift.)

I can't play any of your movies. What's wrong?
Have you downloaded and installed the
QuickTime plug-in from Apple? Please note that some of the QuickTime VR movies are saved in a format requiring QuickTime 3.0 or better to view.

Windows Media Player users: The Windows Media Player incorrectly displays QuickTime VR as a series of quickly moving vertical photos. In addition, when attempting to play a Quicktime movie, you may see the error message "could not download decompressor codec." If you see this message, please use QuickTime to play the movies instead.

Athena and other Unix users: Please take a look at our FAQs about xanim settings and QuickTime VR.

Where can I find a list of all the movies/locations on the tour?
A text-only listing of all the movies and locations is linked at the bottom of every tour page (
"Tour locations").

Why isn't my living group/department/lab on the tour?
The Virtual Tour is designed to accommodate expansion. We have a long list of locations we want to shoot next, including many living groups and laboratories. If you have a specific suggestion for a tour location, let us know at

I'm done viewing the movie. How do I get back to the page I was on before?
Click the "back" button on your browser. Unfortunately, the QuickTime VR zoom keyboard shortcuts are the same as the back/forward keyboard shortcuts on some browsers, so using your browser's "back" button is the most reliable way of getting back to the previous page.

I'm seeing white grid lines on a black background instead of a QuickTime VR movie!
Those grid lines appear when loading a QuickTime VR movie. Wait until the movie is fully loaded, and they will go away. Interestingly enough, you can still scroll around the grid lines even before the movie is done loading. Fun.

I can't see the QuickTime VR navigation buttons on my screen.
Smaller monitors or monitors at lower resolutions may not show the full vertical height of the QuickTime VR movie. To correct this problem, simply grab the movable frame bar at the top of the movie frame and drag it up until you see the QuickTime VR controls. (You'll be able to use QuickTime VR keyboard shortcuts regardless of whether you can see the controls.)

I'm using a Macintosh, and the image map location rollovers seem stuck.
This seems to be the result of a JavaScript bug in Netscape Navigator for Macintosh. To "release" the rollovers, pass your mouse over any part of the top frame except the map, and the rollovers will be reset.

I don't see scrollbars in my lower frame.
If you don't see scrollbars in the lower frame, and the frame clearly should have them (i.e., you can see part of the next location, but can't scroll to get to it), you should reload the frame. In Netscape Navigator, click and hold within the frame until you see a pop-up menu; select "Reload." (On a PC or Unix machine, you may need to use the right mouse button to click and hold.) Within Internet Explorer, click and hold until you see a pop-up menu; select "Refresh this Page."

I'm a Unix user. Why can't I view your VRs?
At the time the Virtual Tour was originally designed (and during the time when this footage was shot), there was no fully cross-platform VR solution. Even now, the only solution we are aware of is Java-based, and slow and jerky on some systems. As technology improves, we will certainly consider making the VRs available in more formats.

Unix users can still view the full-motion videos in any QuickTime-aware helper application, such as xanim on Athena. You're welcome to try viewing the VRs, too -- you'll get a vertical slideshow of the frames that compose the VR.

I'm an Athena user, and I'm getting xanim errors when I try to view your movies.
Check your mime-types settings as follows:

  1. In Netscape Navigator 4.x and above, select Edit: Preferences.
  2. In the Category window, click on the triangle to the left of the word "Navigator" to drop down its menu. Select "Applications."
  3. Scroll through your Applications Description window until you see the mime-type "QuickTime Video" on the left. Make sure that the path under "Handled by" looks like: /mit/graphics/arch/@sys/bin/xanim %s

We can't provide comprehensive technical support for every question you might send us, but we'll try. Email us at



This tour was created by Campus Wide Information Systems and the Admissions Office, with additional support from the Publishing Services Bureau.

  • Deborah Levinson managed the project for Information Systems.
  • Kacey Davenport managed the project for the Admissions Office.
  • Tim Blackburn of the Publishing Services Bureau provided graphic design and help with the user interface.
  • Dorene Dzuiba of Soapbox wrote the copy.
  • Debbi Edelstein of Sitelines copyedited the tour.
  • Suzana Lisanti of CWIS and Bruce Bernstein of the PSB provided invaluable guidance.
  • Kate Miller, formerly of the PSB, helped lead this project when it began in 1997.
  • Matt Gentile and John Chandonnet helped design the project and shot some of the footage.
  • Pam Gaudiano shot and edited some of the footage.
  • Jay Collier of MIT Video Productions provided footage and editing assistance.
  • Jeff Rhind of Horizon Media edited and digitized most of the footage for this tour.
  • CWIS student workers Charlie Cano and Marleigh Norton coded these pages.

Thanks to all the students, faculty and staff members who participated in the making of this project: Todd Belton, Pearl Camara, Wesley Chan, Ryan Chin, Mishone Donelson, Mehran Islam, Andy Jonic, Daniel Kemp, Marie Kosley, Andrew Migliano, Steve Paik, Jag Patel, Matthew Seegmiller, Marc Steinberg, Helen Sullivan, Matt Wall, Hoeteck Wee, David Wiborg. (A special thanks to Mike Milas, who drove the pickup truck down Memorial Drive so we could shoot two movies.)

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