Daniel Rupp, M.Sc.
Room K109
Phone: +49 241 80 29251
Fax: +49 241 80 22134
Email: rupp@vr.rwth-aachen.de

Virtual Reality Team


Wayfinding in Immersive Virtual Environments as Social Activity Supported by Virtual Agents

Andrea Bönsch, Jonathan Ehret, Daniel Rupp, Torsten Wolfgang Kuhlen
Frontiers in Virtual Reality, Section Virtual Reality and Human Behaviour

Effective navigation and interaction within immersive virtual environments rely on thorough scene exploration. Therefore, wayfinding is essential, assisting users in comprehending their surroundings, planning routes, and making informed decisions. Based on real-life observations, wayfinding is, thereby, not only a cognitive process but also a social activity profoundly influenced by the presence and behaviors of others. In virtual environments, these 'others' are virtual agents (VAs), defined as anthropomorphic computer-controlled characters, who enliven the environment and can serve as background characters or direct interaction partners. However, little research has been done to explore how to efficiently use VAs as social wayfinding support. In this paper, we aim to assess and contrast user experience, user comfort, and the acquisition of scene knowledge through a between-subjects study involving n = 60 participants across three distinct wayfinding conditions in one slightly populated urban environment: (i) unsupported wayfinding, (ii) strong social wayfinding using a virtual supporter who incorporates guiding and accompanying elements while directly impacting the participants' wayfinding decisions, and (iii) weak social wayfinding using flows of VAs that subtly influence the participants' wayfinding decisions by their locomotion behavior. Our work is the first to compare the impact of VAs' behavior in virtual reality on users' scene exploration, including spatial awareness, scene comprehension, and comfort. The results show the general utility of social wayfinding support, while underscoring the superiority of the strong type. Nevertheless, further exploration of weak social wayfinding as a promising technique is needed. Thus, our work contributes to the enhancement of VAs as advanced user interfaces, increasing user acceptance and usability.

» Show BibTeX

title={Wayfinding in Immersive Virtual Environments as Social Activity Supported by Virtual Agents},
author={B{\"o}nsch, Andrea and Ehret, Jonathan and Rupp, Daniel and Kuhlen, Torsten W.},
journal={Frontiers in Virtual Reality},

TENETvr: Comprehensible Temporal Teleportation in Time-Varying Virtual Environments

Daniel Rupp, Torsten Wolfgang Kuhlen, Tim Weissker
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.

» Show BibTeX

author={Rupp, Daniel and Kuhlen, Torsten and Weissker, Tim},
booktitle={2023 IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR)},
title={{TENETvr: Comprehensible Temporal Teleportation in Time-Varying Virtual Environments}},

Late-Breaking Report: An Embodied Conversational Agent Supporting Scene Exploration by Switching between Guiding and Accompanying

Andrea Bönsch, Daniel Rupp, Jonathan Ehret, Torsten Wolfgang Kuhlen
IEEE Virtual Humans and Crowds for Immersive Environments (VHCIE), 2022

In this late-breaking report, we first motivate the requirement of an embodied conversational agent (ECA) who combines characteristics of a virtual tour guide and a knowledgeable companion in order to allow users an interactive and adaptable, however, structured exploration of an unknown immersive, architectural environment. Second, we roughly outline our proposed ECA’s behavioral design followed by a teaser on the planned user study.

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