Welcome to the Virtual Reality & Immersive Visualization Group
at RWTH Aachen University!

The Virtual Reality and Immersive Visualization Group started in 1998 as a service team in the RWTH IT Center. Since 2015, we are a research group (Lehr- und Forschungsgebiet) at i12 within the Computer Science Department. Moreover, the Group is member of the Visual Computing Institute and continues to be an integral part of the RWTH IT Center.

In a unique combination of research, teaching, services and infrastructure, we provide Virtual Reality technologies and the underlying methodology as a powerful tool for scientific-technological applications.

In terms of basic research, we develop advanced methods and algorithms for multimodal 3D user interfaces and explorative analyses in virtual environments. Furthermore, we focus on application-driven, interdisciplinary research in collaboration with RWTH Aachen institutes, Forschungszentrum Jülich, research institutions worldwide, and partners from business and industry, covering fields like simulation science, production technology, neuroscience, and medicine.

To this end, we are members of / associated with the following institutes and facilities:

Our offices are located in the RWTH IT Center, where we operate one the largest Virtual Reality labs worldwide. The aixCAVE, a 30 sqm visualization chamber, makes it possible to interactively explore virtual worlds, is open to use by any RWTH Aachen research group.

Successful Presentation at the European Parliament

On Tuesday, November 29th, 2016, three of the international brain initiatives presented their status and achievements at an international workshop named "Understanding the Human Brain - A new era of big neuroscience".
At the co-located exhibition, our group presented a VR-based application visualizing cytoarchitectonical data from the Human Brain.

Nov. 29, 2016

Yuen C. Law receives doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University

Today, our colleague Yuen C. Law successfully passed his Ph.D. defense and received a doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University for his thesis on "Real-Time Simulation of B-Mode Ultrasound Images for Medical Training". Congratulations!

A few impressions of our procession through the City of Aachen and of the doctoral party will be available soon.

Nov. 23, 2016

Successful Presentation at "RWTH Science Night“

At this year´s "RWTH Science Night" on November, 11th in the Kármán Auditorium of RWTH Aachen University, we did not only introduced our research group but also teamed up with the Aachener Verfahrenstechnik (AVT), one of the members of the Cluster of Excellence: Tailor-Made Fuels from Biomass (CoE TMFB), presenting the visualization of a novel fuel synthesis inside a virtual biorafinery.


Nov. 14, 2016

Jury Member on SciVis 2016

After being the contest co-chair in 2014 and contest chair in 2015, Dr. Bernd Hentschel is a jury member of this year’s Scientific Visualization Contest 2016. Titled with "Particular Ensembles", the contest aims at visualizing the evolution of viscous fingers across time and multiple resolutions and study the variation of this evolution across the provided ensemble.
On Wednesday, October 26, 2016 the results of the contest will be presented at IEEE VIS 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Oct. 26, 2016

Best Poster Award

The Best Poster Award of the 6th IEEE Symposium on Large Data Analysis and Visualization 2016 (LDAV 2016) was given to Dr. Tom Vierjahn for his poster entitled “Correlating Sub-Phenomena in Performance Data in the Frequency Domain”.

Oct. 24, 2016

Trade Magazine "Event Partner" presents aixCAVE

In this year's fifth edition of "Event Partner" (published on October, 10th), a trade magazine for event marketing, the aixCAVE of RWTH Aachen University was presented. The article is also available online (in German only).

Oct. 10, 2016

Recent Publications

Accurate and adaptive contact modeling for multi-rate multi-point haptic rendering of static and deformable environments

Computers & Graphics (Journal) (2016)

Common approaches for the haptic rendering of complex scenarios employ multi-rate simulation schemes. Here, the collision queries or the simulation of a complex deformable object are often performed asynchronously at a lower frequency, while some kind of intermediate contact representation is used to simulate interactions at the haptic rate. However, this can produce artifacts in the haptic rendering when the contact situation quickly changes and the intermediate representation is not able to reflect the changes due to the lower update rate. We address this problem utilizing a novel contact model. It facilitates the creation of contact representations that are accurate for a large range of motions and multiple simulation time-steps. We handle problematic geometrically convex contact regions using a local convex decomposition and special constraints for convex areas. We combine our accurate contact model with an implicit temporal integration scheme to create an intermediate mechanical contact representation, which reflects the dynamic behavior of the simulated objects. To maintain a haptic real time simulation, the size of the region modeled by the contact representation is automatically adapted to the complexity of the geometry in contact. Moreover, we propose a new iterative solving scheme for the involved constrained dynamics problems. We increase the robustness of our method using techniques from trust region-based optimization. Our approach can be combined with standard methods for the modeling of deformable objects or constraint-based approaches for the modeling of, for instance, friction or joints. We demonstrate its benefits with respect to the simulation accuracy and the quality of the rendered haptic forces in several scenarios with one or more haptic proxies.


Interactive 3D Force-Directed Edge Bundling

Computer Graphics Forum (Journal) (2016)

Interactive analysis of 3D relational data is challenging. A common way of representing such data are node-link diagrams as they support analysts in achieving a mental model of the data. However, naïve 3D depictions of complex graphs tend to be visually cluttered, even more than in a 2D layout. This makes graph exploration and data analysis less efficient. This problem can be addressed by edge bundling. We introduce a 3D cluster-based edge bundling algorithm that is inspired by the force-directed edge bundling (FDEB) algorithm [Holten2009] and fulfills the requirements to be embedded in an interactive framework for spatial data analysis. It is parallelized and scales with the size of the graph regarding the runtime. Furthermore, it maintains the edge’s model and thus supports rendering the graph in different structural styles. We demonstrate this with a graph originating from a simulation of the function of a macaque brain.


Towards the Ultimate Display for Neuroscientific Data Analysis

Brain-Inspired Computing. BrainComp 2015. Lecture Notes in Computer Science

This article wants to give some impulses for a discussion about how an “ultimate” display should look like to support the Neuroscience community in an optimal way. In particular, we will have a look at immersive display technology. Since its hype in the early 90’s, immersive Virtual Reality has undoubtedly been adopted as a useful tool in a variety of application domains and has indeed proven its potential to support the process of scientific data analysis. Yet, it is still an open question whether or not such non-standard displays make sense in the context of neuroscientific data analysis. We argue that the potential of immersive displays is neither about the raw pixel count only, nor about other hardware-centric characteristics. Instead, we advocate the design of intuitive and powerful user interfaces for a direct interaction with the data, which support the multi-view paradigm in an efficient and flexible way, and – finally – provide interactive response times even for huge amounts of data and when dealing multiple datasets simultaneously.

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