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.


IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces 2021

Sebastian Pape and Sevinc Eroglu just presented their research at IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces 2021, which will end tomorrow. Sebastian's poster deals with a Virtual Optical Bench as a VR learning tool for optical design, while Sevinc's paper on design and evaluation of a free-hand VR-based authoring environment for automated vehicle testing was even nominated for the Best Paper Award.

April 1, 2021

If you are interest in a student worker position dealing with Artificial Neural Network click here

Feb. 26, 2021

Andrea Schnorr receives doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University

Today, our colleague Andrea Schnorr successfully passed her Ph.D. defense and received a doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University for her thesis on "Feature Tracking for Space-Filling Structures". Congratulations!

Feb. 19, 2021

Article on Social Virtual Reality research published in RWTH THEMEN (2/2020)

The current issue of the Science Magazine RWTH THEMEN (2/2020) presents various research conducted in the RWTH's profile area „Information & Communication Technology“. Together with Prof. Michael Vorländer and Prof. Janina Fels, both experts in the area of Virtual Acoustics, we provide insight into our research in the realm of Social Virtual Reality: To convincingly represent conversational interaction partners, VAs need to plausibly mimic visual and acoustic human behavior. In the article we focus on the realism of the acoustic reproduction which can be achieved by applying dynamic directivity as well as by taking the phoneme-dependent characteristics of the spoken word into account.

Read the complete article here, page 12-17.

Feb. 3, 2021

20th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents

Jonathan Ehret and Andrea Bönsch present four papers at the current 20th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents. Additionally, Andrea is co-author on a collaborative work with colleagues from, i.a., Dutch and Australia, which is nominated for the Best Paper Award.

Oct. 21, 2020

Andrea Bönsch gave a Zoom-based, invited talk at the 3rd Workshop on "Person-to-Person Interaction: From Analysis to Applications" in Rennes, France.

June 25, 2020

Recent Publications

to be presented: Being Guided or Having Exploratory Freedom: User Preferences of a Virtual Agent’s Behavior in a Museum

21th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents 2021 (IVA'21)

A virtual guide in an immersive virtual environment allows users a structured experience without missing critical information. However, although being in an interactive medium, the user is only a passive listener, while the embodied conversational agent (ECA) fulfills the active roles of wayfinding and conveying knowledge. Thus, we investigated for the use case of a virtual museum, whether users prefer a virtual guide or a free exploration accompanied by an ECA who imparts the same information compared to the guide. Results of a small within-subjects study with a head-mounted display are given and discussed, resulting in the idea of combining benefits of both conditions for a higher user acceptance. Furthermore, the study indicated the feasibility of the carefully designed scene and ECA’s appearance.

Compression and Rendering of Textured Point Clouds via Sparse Coding

High-Performance Graphics 2021

Splat-based rendering techniques produce highly realistic renderings from 3D scan data without prior mesh generation. Mapping high-resolution photographs to the splat primitives enables detailed reproduction of surface appearance. However, in many cases these massive datasets do not fit into GPU memory. In this paper, we present a compression and rendering method that is designed for large textured point cloud datasets. Our goal is to achieve compression ratios that outperform generic texture compression algorithms, while still retaining the ability to efficiently render without prior decompression. To achieve this, we resample the input textures by projecting them onto the splats and create a fixed-size representation that can be approximated by a sparse dictionary coding scheme. Each splat has a variable number of codeword indices and associated weights, which define the final texture as a linear combination during rendering. For further reduction of the memory footprint, we compress geometric attributes by careful clustering and quantization of local neighborhoods. Our approach reduces the memory requirements of textured point clouds by one order of magnitude, while retaining the possibility to efficiently render the compressed data.

Design and Evaluation of a Free-Hand VR-based Authoring Environment for Automated Vehicle Testing

IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces 2021

Virtual Reality is increasingly used for safe evaluation and validation of autonomous vehicles by automotive engineers. However, the design and creation of virtual testing environments is a cumbersome process. Engineers are bound to utilize desktop-based authoring tools, and a high level of expertise is necessary. By performing scene authoring entirely inside VR, faster design iterations become possible. To this end, we propose a VR authoring environment that enables engineers to design road networks and traffic scenarios for automated vehicle testing based on free-hand interaction. We present a 3D interaction technique for the efficient placement and selection of virtual objects that is employed on a 2D panel. We conducted a comparative user study in which our interaction technique outperformed existing approaches regarding precision and task completion time. Furthermore, we demonstrate the effectiveness of the system by a qualitative user study with domain experts.

Nominated for the Best Paper Award.

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