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.

Co-Chair on WOIV’17

ISC 2017 accepted the second edition of the "ISC Workshop on in situ visualization”. Tom Vierjahn will be one of the co-chairs together with Guido Reina, Steffen Frey (both Univ. Stuttgart), and Gunther Weber (LBNL). The submission system is open …

Link: www.woiv.org
Call for Papers:

March 24, 2017

3DUI and IEEE VR 2018 will be held in Germany

We are very happy to announce, that next year’s 3DUI and IEEE VR will be located in Reutlingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. We are particularly pleased that Torsten W. Kuhlen is one of the conference co-chairs together with Betty Mohler (Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tuebingen, Germany), Evan Suma Rosenberg (University of Southern California, Institute of Creative Technologies, California) and Matthias Bues (Frauenhofer IAO, Stuttgart, Germany).

We look forward to seeing you in Reutlingen in March 2018!

March 24, 2017

Successful participation in 3DUI and IEEE VR 2017: Presentations & Contest Chair of 3DUI Contest

Our group presented three papers at 3DUI and three workshop papers as well as six posters at IEEE VR 2017 in Los Angeles, California, USA on March 18-22.

Furthermore, Benjamin Weyers continued his engagement for the 3DUI contest: He was one of the co-chairs together with Rongkai Guo (Kennesaw State University, USA) and Ryan R. McMahan (University of Texas in Dallas, USA).

March 24, 2017

Successfull Application for ICT Project

Our efforts to integrate virtual humans into complex scientific and technical applications are partially funded by the project house ICT Foundations of a Digitized Industry, Economy, and Society, RWTH Aachen University. More information can be found here.

March 8, 2017

Teaching Award 2016 in the category "Project" at RWTHtransparent

Congratulations to our colleagues Prof. Torsten W. Kuhlen and Dominik Rausch for winning the Teaching Award in the category "Project 2016" for the project Virtual Sketching on this year’s RWTHtransparent. During his diploma thesis in 2008, Dominik Rausch developed a Virtual Reality-based tool for sketching in immersive virtual environments and later on extended in an interdisciplinary collaboration with the Department of Visual Design (Prof. Thomas H. Schmitz, Hannah Groninger). It incorporates the advantages of classical open, undetermined hand-drawn sketches and 3D computer drafts: the drawer is immersed in his draft or model inside the aixCAVE at RWTH Aachen. He can freely move and look around in the virtual scenery and sketch 3D strokes directly into the environment using tracked input devices.
In the RWTH Aachen University’s youtube video one can receive an impression of the Sketching application and the official University News can be found here.

Besides the awarded project, which could be tested in an HMD-Version during the exhibition, our group teamed up with collaboration partners in order to exhibit three more current research projects at information stands during the RWTHtransparent’s exhibition. The projects presented range from brain visualization over the melting process of pressure casting to cultural heritage.

Jan. 27, 2017

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

Recent Publications

Turning Anonymous Members of a Mulitagent System into Individuals

IEEE Virtual Humans and Crowds for Immersive Environments (VHCIE), 2017

It is increasingly common to embed embodied, human-like, virtual agents into immersive virtual environments for either of the two use cases: (1) populating architectural scenes as anonymous members of a crowd and (2) meeting or supporting users as individual, intelligent and conversational agents. However, the new trend towards intelligent cyber physical systems inherently combines both use cases. Thus, we argue for the necessity of multiagent systems consisting of anonymous and autonomous agents, who temporarily turn into intelligent individuals. Besides purely enlivening the scene, each agent can thus be engaged into a situation-dependent interaction by the user, e.g., into a conversation or a joint task. To this end, we devise components for an agent’s behavioral design modeling the transition between an anonymous and an individual agent when a user approaches.


Evaluation of Approaching-Strategies of Temporarily Required Virtual Assistants in Immersive Environments

Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces 2017

Embodied, virtual agents provide users assistance in agent-based support systems. To this end, two closely linked factors have to be considered for the agents’ behavioral design: their presence time (PT), i.e., the time in which the agents are visible, and the approaching time (AT), i.e., the time span between the user’s calling for an agent and the agent’s actual availability. This work focuses on human-like assistants that are embedded in immersive scenes but that are required only temporarily. To the best of our knowledge, guidelines for a suitable trade-off between PT and AT of these assistants do not yet exist. We address this gap by presenting the results of a controlled within-subjects study in a CAVE. While keeping a low PT so that the agent is not perceived as annoying, three strategies affecting the AT, namely fading, walking, and running, are evaluated by 40 subjects. The results indicate no clear preference for either behavior. Instead, the necessity of a better trade-off between a low AT and an agent’s realistic behavior is demonstrated.


Poster: Peers At Work: Economic Real-Effort Experiments In The Presence of Virtual Co-Workers

Proceedings of IEEE Virtual Reality Conference 2017

Traditionally, experimental economics uses controlled and incentivized field and lab experiments to analyze economic behavior. However, investigating peer effects in the classic settings is challenging due to the reflection problem: Who is influencing whom? To overcome this, we enlarge the methodological toolbox of these experiments by means of Virtual Reality. After introducing and validating a real-effort sorting task, we embed a virtual agent as peer of a human subject, who independently performs an identical sorting task. We conducted two experiments investigating (a) the subject’s productivity adjustment due to peer effects and (b) the incentive effects on competition. Our results indicate a great potential for Virtual-Reality-based economic experiments.

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