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.

Thomas Beer receives doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University

Today, our colleague Thomas Beer successfully passed his Ph.D. defense and received a doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University for his thesis on "Plattform zur kollaborativen Simulation und Visualisierung von Szenarien des Integrative Computational Engineering ". Congratulations!

March 29, 2017

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

Recent Publications

Efficient Approximate Computation of Scene Visibility Based on Navigation Meshes and Applications for Navigation and Scene Analysis

Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces (2017)

Scene visibility - the information of which parts of the scene are visible from a certain location—can be used to derive various properties of a virtual environment. For example, it enables the computation of viewpoint quality to determine the informativeness of a viewpoint, helps in constructing virtual tours, and allows to keep track of the objects a user may already have seen. However, computing visibility at runtime may be too computationally expensive for many applications, while sampling the entire scene beforehand introduces a costly precomputation step and may include many samples not needed later on. Therefore, in this paper, we propose a novel approach to precompute visibility information based on navigation meshes, a polygonal representation of a scene’s navigable areas. We show that with only limited precomputation, high accuracy can be achieved in these areas. Furthermore, we demonstrate the usefulness of the approach by means of several applications, including viewpoint quality computation, landmark and room detection, and exploration assistance. In addition, we present a travel interface based on common visibility that we found to result in less cybersickness in a user study.


Approximating Optimal Sets of Views in Virtual Scenes

Proceedings of IEEE Virtual Reality Conference 2017

Viewpoint quality estimation methods allow the determination of the most informative position in a scene. However, a single position usually cannot represent an entire scene, requiring instead a set of several viewpoints. Measuring the quality of such a set of views, however, is not trivial, and the computation of an optimal set of views is an NP-hard problem. Therefore, in this work, we propose three methods to estimate the quality of a set of views. Furthermore, we evaluate three approaches for computing an approximation to the optimal set (two of them new) regarding effectiveness and efficiency.


Assisted Travel Based on Common Visibility and Navigation Meshes

Proceedings of IEEE Virtual Reality Conference 2017

The manual adjustment of travel speed to cover medium or large distances in virtual environments may increase cognitive load, and manual travel at high speeds can lead to cybersickness due to inaccurate steering. In this work, we present an approach to quickly pass regions where the environment does not change much, using automated suggestions based on the computation of common visibility. In a user study, we show that our method can reduce cybersickness when compared with manual speed control.

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