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.


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

New Projects Online

If you are interested in our work, please take a look at our updated research and service projects. For example, learn more about the new EU project BugWright or the immersive visualization of cytoskeletons.

June 20, 2020

Sascha Gebhardt receives doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University

Today, our colleague Sascha Gebhardt successfully passed his Ph.D. defense and received a doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University for his thesis on "Visual Analysis of Multi-dimensional Metamodels for Manufacturing Processess". Congratulations!

June 9, 2020

Daniel Zielasko receives doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University

Today, our colleague Daniel Zielasko successfully passed his Ph.D. defense and received a doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University for his thesis on "DeskVR: Seamless Integration of Virtual Reality into Desk-based Data Analysis Workflows". Congratulations!

Feb. 21, 2020

If you are interest in a student worker position dealing with context menus in immersive, virtual environment, click here.

Oct. 11, 2019

Recent Publications

An Immersive Node-Link Visualization of Artificial Neural Networks for Machine Learning Experts

3rd International Conference on Artificial Intelligence & Virtual Reality (IEEE AIVR)

The black box problem of artificial neural networks (ANNs) is still a very relevant issue. When communicating basic concepts of ANNs, they are often depicted as node-link diagrams. Despite this being a straight forward way to visualize them, it is rarely used outside an educational context. However, we hypothesize that large-scale node-link diagrams of full ANNs could be useful even to machine learning experts. Hence, we present a visualization tool that depicts convolutional ANNs as node-link diagrams using immersive virtual reality. We applied our tool to a use-case in the field of machine learning research and adapted it to the specific challenges. Finally, we performed an expert review to evaluate the usefulness of our visualization. We found that our node-link visualization of ANNs was perceived as helpful in this professional context.

Inferring a User’s Intent on Joining or Passing by Social Groups

20th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents 2020 (IVA'20)

Modeling the interactions between users and social groups of virtual agents (VAs) is vital in many virtual-reality-based applications. However, only little research on group encounters has been conducted yet. We intend to close this gap by focusing on the distinction between joining and passing-by a group. To enhance the interactive capacity of VAs in these situations, knowing the user’s objective is required to showreasonable reactions. To this end,we propose a classification scheme which infers the user’s intent based on social cues such as proxemics, gazing and orientation, followed by triggering believable, non-verbal actions on the VAs.We tested our approach in a pilot study with overall promising results and discuss possible improvements for further studies.

Evaluating the Influence of Phoneme-Dependent Dynamic Speaker Directivity of Embodied Conversational Agents’ Speech

20th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents 2020 (IVA'20)

Generating natural embodied conversational agents within virtual spaces crucially depends on speech sounds and their directionality. In this work, we simulated directional filters to not only add directionality, but also directionally adapt each phoneme. We therefore mimic reality where changing mouth shapes have an influence on the directional propagation of sound. We conducted a study (n = 32) evaluating naturalism ratings, preference and distinguishability of omnidirectional speech auralization compared to static and dynamic, phoneme-dependent directivities. The results indicated that participants cannot distinguish dynamic from static directivity. Furthermore, participants’ preference ratings aligned with their naturalism ratings. There was no unanimity, however, with regards to which auralization is the most natural.

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