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.

Astronauts Cassidy and Hansen Visting Virtual AMS-02

The astronauts Christopher J. Cassidy (US) and Jeremy R. Hansen (Canada) are preparing for one of the most demanding missions in space: Replacing the cooling system at the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer AMS-02 on the International Space Station ISS in at least five intensive space operations.
As the new cooling system was developed by RWTH, in close collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT, NASA, and other partners, the astronauts visited Aachen to become familiar with the cooling system's technology. During their stay, they also visited our aixCAVE to experience a full-scale, virtual AMS-02, a demo prepared by Prof. Roßmann's Institute for Man-Machine Interaction.
News regarding this spectacular visit can, e.g., be found here (University news: visit announcement), here (University news: visit retrospective) and here (video by Aachener Nachrichten, German).

May 21, 2019

Benjamin Weyers takes over junior professorship for Human-Computer Interaction at University of Trier

By the end of the lecture period, we had to say goodbye to our dear friend and colleague Benjamin Weyers. For more than five years, he significantly committed to our group’s research and teaching activities with a very high personal involvement. Now, Benjamin took over a junior professorship for Human-Computer Interaction at the Department IV - Computer Science at the University of Trier. We will miss him. However, we wish him best of luck for his new endeavor and the new tasks and challenges ahead.

Our warmest congratulations, Jun.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Benjamin Weyers!

Feb. 18, 2019

The Innovation Factory on RWTH Aachen Campus ...

... is ready for take-off and introduces itself to the public with a short video clip on youtube. Of course, VR is involved here as well - as one digital tool used in the development stage to gain initial insights.

Jan. 18, 2019

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

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

Recent Publications

Influence of Directivity on the Perception of Embodied Conversational Agents' Speech

to be presented at: 19th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA), 2019

Embodied conversational agents become more and more important in various virtual reality applications, e.g., as peers, trainers or therapists. Besides their appearance and behavior, appropriate speech is required for them to be perceived as human-like and realistic. Additionally to the used voice signal, also its auralization in the immersive virtual environment has to be believable. Therefore, we investigated the effect of adding directivity to the speech sound source. Directivity simulates the orientation dependent auralization with regard to the agent's head orientation. We performed a one-factorial user study with two levels (n=35) to investigate the effect directivity has on the perceived social presence and realism of the agent's voice. Our results do not indicate any significant effects regarding directivity on both variables covered. We account this partly to an overall too low realism of the virtual agent, a not overly social utilized scenario and generally high variance of the examined measures. These results are critically discussed and potential further research questions and study designs are identified.

 

Passive Haptic Menus for Desk-Based and HMD-Projected Virtual Reality

IEEE VR Workshop on Everyday Virtual Reality (2019)

In this work we evaluate the impact of passive haptic feedback on touch-based menus, given the constraints and possibilities of a seated, desk-based scenario in VR. Therefore, we compare a menu that once is placed on the surface of a desk and once mid-air on a surface in front of the user. The study design is completed by two conditions without passive haptic feedback. In the conducted user study (n = 33) we found effects of passive haptics (present vs- non-present) and menu alignment (desk vs. mid-air) on the task performance and subjective look & feel, however the race between the conditions was close. An overall winner was the mid-air menu with passive haptic feedback, which however raises hardware requirements.

 

A Non-Stationary Office Desk Substitution for Desk-Based and HMD-Projected Virtual Reality

IEEE VR Workshop on Immersive Sickness Prevention (2019)

The ongoing migration of HMDs to the consumer market also allows the integration of immersive environments into analysis workflows that are often bound to an (office) desk. However, a critical factor when considering VR solutions for professional applications is the prevention of cybersickness. In the given scenario the user is usually seated and the surrounding real world environment is very dominant, where the most dominant part is maybe the desk itself. Including this desk in the virtual environment could serve as a resting frame and thus reduce cybersickness next to a lot of further possibilities. In this work, we evaluate the feasibility of a substitution like this in the context of a visual data analysis task involving travel, and measure the impact on cybersickness as well as the general task performance and presence. In the conducted user study (n=52), surprisingly, and partially in contradiction to existing work, we found no significant differences for those core measures between the control condition without a virtual table and the condition containing a virtual table. However, the results also support the inclusion of a virtual table in desk-based use cases.

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