Welcome



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.

Sebastian Freitag receives doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University

Today, our colleague Sebastian Freitag successfully passed his Ph.D. defense and received a doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University for his thesis on "Supported Navigation in Immersive Virtual Environments". Congratulations!

Sept. 27, 2018

Tom Vierjahn takes over professorship for Computer Science at WH Bocholt

Today we had to say goodbye to our dear friend and colleague Tom Vierjahn. After four years of significant commitment and high personal involvement in our group’s research and teaching activities, Tom now takes over professorship at the Department of Business Studies and Information Technology at the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences in Bocholt. We will sadly miss him in Aachen, however, we wish him much fun and all the best for the new tasks and challenges ahead.

Our warmest congratulations, Prof. Dr. Tom Vierjahn!

Aug. 30, 2018

VR in Science and Industry – Successful Event and Announcement of the Network

Read more...

July 18, 2018

Successful Presentations at ISC'18

At this year's International Supercomputing Conference from June 24 - 28, 2018 in Frankfurt scientists of the JARA-HPC presented latest research results at the exhibition and organized a workshop on In Situ Visualization.

Read more...

July 17, 2018

Matt Larsen visits our group.

Matt Larsen is a staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Oregon in 2016. He is the primary developer for the ASCENT in situ library, as well as a key contributor to the VTK-m library and the VisIt visualization software. Matt's research interests include rendering for visualization, performance modeling for visualization, and many-core architectures.

July 11, 2018

Bernd Hentschel jointly organized a Dagstuhl Seminar on "In Situ Visualization for Computational Science"

Janine Bennett (Sandia National Lab, CA), Hank Childs (University of Oregon), Christoph Garth (TU Kaiserslautern), and Bernd Hentschel jointly organized a Dagstuhl Seminar on "In Situ Visualization for Computational Science". Being held in Schloss Dagstuhl, Germany between 2-6 July, the seminar brought together 39 experts from the fields of computational science, high-performance computing, and large-scale data visualization in order to discuss challenges and research opportunities with respect to highly scalable in situ visualization methods. Over the course of four and a half days, participants discussed a variety of topics in small working groups. The results of these discussions will be disseminated as a Dagstuhl Report, which outlines the current state of the field as well as a mid-term research agenda. Find more info at https://www.dagstuhl.de/de/programm/kalender/semhp/?semnr=18271.

July 2, 2018

Recent Publications

Exploring Immersive Analytics for Built Environments

In Kim Marriott, Falk Schreiber et al. (eds.): Immersive Analytics, Springer International Publishing, pp. 331-357.

This chapter overviews the application of immersive analytics to simulations of built environments through three distinct case studies. The first case study examines an immersive analytics approach based upon the concept of “Virtual Production Intelligence” for virtual prototyping tools throughout the planning phase of complete production sites. The second study addresses the 3D simulation of an extensive urban area and the attendant immersive analytic considerations in an interactive model of a sustainable city. The third study reviews how immersive analytic overlays have been applied for virtual heritage in the reconstruction and crowd simulation of the medieval Cambodian temple complex of Angkor Wat.

 

Social VR: How Personal Space is Affected by Virtual Agents’ Emotions

Proceedings of the IEEE Virtual Reality Conference, 2018

Personal space (PS), the flexible protective zone maintained around oneself, is a key element of everyday social interactions. It, e.g., affects people's interpersonal distance and is thus largely involved when navigating through social environments. However, the PS is regulated dynamically, its size depends on numerous social and personal characteristics and its violation evokes different levels of discomfort and physiological arousal. Thus, gaining more insight into this phenomenon is important. We contribute to the PS investigations by presenting the results of a controlled experiment in a CAVE, focusing on German males in the age of 18 to 30 years. The PS preferences of 27 participants have been sampled while they were approached by either a single embodied, computer-controlled virtual agent (VA) or by a group of three VAs. In order to investigate the influence of a VA's emotions, we altered their facial expression between angry and happy. Our results indicate that the emotion as well as the number of VAs approaching influence the PS: larger distances are chosen to angry VAs compared to happy ones; single VAs are allowed closer compared to the group. Thus, our study is a foundation for social and behavioral studies investigating PS preferences.

 

You Spin my Head Right Round: Threshold of Limited Immersion for Rotation Gains in Redirected Walking

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics

In virtual environments, the space that can be explored by real walking is limited by the size of the tracked area. To enable unimpeded walking through large virtual spaces in small real-world surroundings, redirection techniques are used. These unnoticeably manipulate the user’s virtual walking trajectory. It is important to know how strongly such techniques can be applied without the user noticing the manipulation—or getting cybersick. Previously, this was estimated by measuring a detection threshold (DT) in highly-controlled psychophysical studies, which experimentally isolate the effect but do not aim for perceived immersion in the context of VR applications. While these studies suggest that only relatively low degrees of manipulation are tolerable, we claim that, besides establishing detection thresholds, it is important to know when the user’s immersion breaks. We hypothesize that the degree of unnoticed manipulation is significantly different from the detection threshold when the user is immersed in a task. We conducted three studies: a) to devise an experimental paradigm to measure the threshold of limited immersion (TLI), b) to measure the TLI for slowly decreasing and increasing rotation gains, and c) to establish a baseline of cybersickness for our experimental setup. For rotation gains greater than 1.0, we found that immersion breaks quite late after the gain is detectable. However, for gains lesser than 1.0, some users reported a break of immersion even before established detection thresholds were reached. Apparently, the developed metric measures an additional quality of user experience. This article contributes to the development of effective spatial compression methods by utilizing the break of immersion as a benchmark for redirection techniques.

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