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

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.

Poster: Virtual Optical Bench: A VR Learning Tool For Optical Design

IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces 2021

The design of optical lens assemblies is a difficult process that requires lots of expertise. The teaching of this process today is done on physical optical benches, which are often too expensive for students to purchase. One way of circumventing these costs is to use software to simulate the optical bench. This work presents a virtual optical bench, which leverages real-time ray tracing in combination with VR rendering to create a teaching tool which creates a repeatable, non-hazardous, and feature-rich learning environment. The resulting application was evaluated in an expert review with 6 optical engineers.

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.

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