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 a 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 of 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.


29th ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST 2023)

Together with Dr. Daniel Zielasko from the University of Trier our colleague Dr. Tim Weißker presented his paper entitled "Stay Vigilant: The Threat of a Replication Crisis in VR Locomotion Research" at the 29th ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST 2023). Their work was awarded with the Best Paper Award. Congratulations!

Oct. 12, 2023

23rd ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA23)

Jonathan Ehret presented his paper entitled "Who's next? Integrating Non-Verbal Turn-Taking Cues for Embodied Conversational Agents" at the 23rd ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents. Furthermore, Andrea Bönsch presented two posters in the realm of virtual agents supporting scene exploration, either as conversing groups or as method for constrained navigation.

Sept. 19, 2023

The SPP AUDICTIVE converence took place and we contributed to the programm with two project presentations.

Read more

June 30, 2023

Christian Nowke receives doctoral degree from University of Trier

Today, our colleague Christian Nowke successfully passed his Ph.D. defense and received a doctoral degree from the University of Trier for his thesis on "Semantic-Aware Coordinated Multiple Views for the Interactive Analysis of Neural Activity Data". Congratulations!

May 22, 2023

Industry Meets aixCAVE

On Friday, May 5th, about twenty delegates from renowned companies across Germany visited us to experience the aixCAVE. This event triggered many intriguing thoughts and stimulating discussions between our researchers and guests. Read more… Having previously visited the RWTH aixCAVE herself, Rose-Marie Schulte, a sales advisor and tech enthusiast located in Düsseldorf, wanted to share her experience with her business partners. We happily agreed and offered them an opportunity to explore our site firsthand. We started the day with a brief presentation by Prof. Torsten W. Kuhlen about our research group and an introduction to the aixCAVE. Subsequently, we continued with a tour through our research laboratory, equipped with state-of-the-art VR-capable workplaces and, as centerpiece, the aixCAVE. Being visited by a large group made it possible to demonstrate the capabilities and advantages of our aixCAVE regarding collaborative work. Fully opening the aixCAVE allows a large group to observe the researchers inside and to exchange ideas. Closing it provides the best immersion for up to five researchers inside but limits communication to the inside of the aixCAVE. Both scenarios have their use cases for different applications. We selected a representative for each scenario from our wide variety of applications to showcase during the day. Overall, our guests were impressed by the capabilities and the immersion provided by the aixCAVE. During and after the demonstrations, our guests came up with intriguing discussion topics. These ranged from thoughts about the future of VR in the context of the Metaverse, about philosophical perspectives on the definition of reality, as well as new business ideas incorporating the Metaverse and VR. IMG_2604, IMG_2571, IMG_2565, all © Arnim Buch

May 5, 2023

Cover on the German GI Informatik Spektrum

The cover of the current issue of Informatik Spektrum of the Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI) presents results of a project between the EON Energy Research Center and us on an important issue. The use of air filters in classrooms to fight the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been and continues to be a much-discussed topic. The cover shows a visualization in our aixCAVE, enabling an analysis of the temporal and spatial dynamics of aerosol concentration for each person in the respective room. Virtual reality is proving to be an effective tool for scientists here. It demonstrates the potential risk of aerosol dispersion in enclosed spaces with many people, which can be intuitively experienced even by laypersons.

Additional information on this project is provided in the IT Center Annual Report 2020/2021, page 58f (german only).

Dec. 16, 2022

Recent Publications

TENETvr: Comprehensible Temporal Teleportation in Time-Varying Virtual Environments

IEEE 2023

The iterative design process of virtual environments commonly generates a history of revisions that each represent the state of the scene at a different point in time. Browsing through these discrete time points by common temporal navigation interfaces like time sliders, however, can be inaccurate and lead to an uncomfortably high number of visual changes in a short time. In this paper, we therefore present a novel technique called TENETvr (Temporal Exploration and Navigation in virtual Environments via Teleportation) that allows for efficient teleportation-based travel to time points in which a particular object of interest changed. Unlike previous systems, we suggest that changes affecting other objects in the same time span should also be mediated before the teleport to improve predictability. We therefore propose visualizations for nine different types of additions, property changes, and deletions. In a formal user study with 20 participants, we confirmed that this addition leads to significantly more efficient change detection, lower task loads, and higher usability ratings, therefore reducing temporal disorientation.

Who Did What When? Discovering Complex Historical Interrelations in Immersive Virtual Reality

Konferenz: 2023 IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality

Traditional digital tools for exploring historical data mostly rely on conventional 2D visualizations, which often cannot reveal all relevant interrelationships between historical fragments (e.g., persons or events). In this paper, we present a novel interactive exploration tool for historical data in VR, which represents fragments as spheres in a 3D environment and arranges them around the user based on their temporal, geo, categorical and semantic similarity. Quantitative and qualitative results from a user study with 29 participants revealed that most participants considered the virtual space and the abstract fragment representation well-suited to explore historical data and to discover complex interrelationships. These results were particularly underlined by high usability scores in terms of attractiveness, stimulation, and novelty, while researching historical facts with our system did not impose unexpectedly high task loads. Additionally, the insights from our post-study interviews provided valuable suggestions for future developments to further expand the possibilities of our system.

Stay Vigilant: The Threat of a Replication Crisis in VR Locomotion Research

Proceedings of 29th ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST) 2023

The ability to reproduce previously published research findings is an important cornerstone of the scientific knowledge acquisition process. However, the exact details required to reproduce empirical experiments vary depending on the discipline. In this paper, we summarize key replication challenges as well as their specific consequences for VR locomotion research. We then present the results of a literature review on artificial locomotion techniques, in which we analyzed 61 papers published in the last five years with respect to their report of essential details required for reproduction. Our results indicate several issues in terms of the description of the experimental setup, the scientific rigor of the research process, and the generalizability of results, which altogether points towards a potential replication crisis in VR locomotion research. As a countermeasure, we provide guidelines to assist researchers with reporting future artificial locomotion experiments in a reproducible form.

Best Paper Award!

Disclaimer Home Visual Computing institute RWTH Aachen University