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.

If you are interest in a student worker position dealing with context menus in immersive, virtual environment, click here.

Oct. 11, 2019

M.Sc. Networked Production Engineering

Networking is tool. Thus, the highly interdisciplinary Master program Networked Production Engineering” (NPE) enables students to obtain technology-related qualifications for our increasingly networked world of work. Thereby three specialization are offered: Additive Manufacturing, Smart Factory, and E-Mobility. Obviously, Virtual Reality as smart technology - to take production to the networked level - is one of many important aspects here.

Interested in finding out more? Watch NPE's imagefilm here and see our aixCAVE at 1:09.

Oct. 11, 2019

Sebastian Pick receives doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University

Today, our colleague Sebastian Pick successfully passed his Ph.D. defense and received a doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University for his thesis on "Interactive Data Annotation for Virtual Reality Applications". Congratulations!

July 15, 2019

Successful Presentations at ISC'19

At this year's International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) exhibition in Frankfurt, scientists of JARA-HPC have presented an application based on Unreal Engine for visualizing a direct numerical simulation of early flame kernel development. In the interactive exhibit, the visitors of the booth were provided with stereo glasses and flysticks to interactively explore the combustion simulation projected through the display wall. The application has gathered interest from a wide range of people, ranging from youth interested in utilization of game engines for scientific visualization, to domain scientists asking the specifics of the direct numerical simulation in display. The responses were overall positive, and included valuable feedback for further development. A particular theme was extension of the immersive visualization environment to arbitrary datasets.

June 20, 2019

Astronauts Cassidy and Hansen Visting Virtual AMS-02

The astronauts Christopher J. Cassidy (US) and Jeremy R. Hansen (Canada) are preparing for one of the most demanding missions in space: Replacing the cooling system at the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer AMS-02 on the International Space Station ISS in at least five intensive space operations.
As the new cooling system was developed by RWTH, in close collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT, NASA, and other partners, the astronauts visited Aachen to become familiar with the cooling system's technology. During their stay, they also visited our aixCAVE to experience a full-scale, virtual AMS-02, a demo prepared by Prof. Roßmann's Institute for Man-Machine Interaction.
News regarding this spectacular visit can, e.g., be found here (University news: visit announcement), here (University news: visit retrospective) and here (video by Aachener Nachrichten, German).

May 21, 2019

The Innovation Factory on RWTH Aachen Campus ...

... is ready for take-off and introduces itself to the public with a short video clip on youtube. Of course, VR is involved here as well - as one digital tool used in the development stage to gain initial insights.

Jan. 18, 2019

Recent Publications

Voxel-Based Edge Bundling Trough Direction-Aware Kernel Smoothing

Computers & Graphics

Relational data with a spatial embedding and depicted as node-link diagram is very common, e.g., in neuroscience, and edge bundling is one way to increase its readability or reveal hidden structures. This article presents a 3D extension to kernel density estimation-based edge bundling that is meant to be used in an interactive immersive analysis setting. This extension adds awareness of the edges’ direction when using kernel smoothing and thus implicitly supports both directed and undirected graphs. The method generates explicit bundles of edges, which can be analyzed and visualized individually and as sufficient as possible for a given application context, while it scales linearly with the input size.


Influence of Directivity on the Perception of Embodied Conversational Agents' Speech

19th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA), 2019

Embodied conversational agents become more and more important in various virtual reality applications, e.g., as peers, trainers or therapists. Besides their appearance and behavior, appropriate speech is required for them to be perceived as human-like and realistic. Additionally to the used voice signal, also its auralization in the immersive virtual environment has to be believable. Therefore, we investigated the effect of adding directivity to the speech sound source. Directivity simulates the orientation dependent auralization with regard to the agent's head orientation. We performed a one-factorial user study with two levels (n=35) to investigate the effect directivity has on the perceived social presence and realism of the agent's voice. Our results do not indicate any significant effects regarding directivity on both variables covered. We account this partly to an overall too low realism of the virtual agent, a not overly social utilized scenario and generally high variance of the examined measures. These results are critically discussed and potential further research questions and study designs are identified.


Passive Haptic Menus for Desk-Based and HMD-Projected Virtual Reality

IEEE VR Workshop on Everyday Virtual Reality (2019)

In this work we evaluate the impact of passive haptic feedback on touch-based menus, given the constraints and possibilities of a seated, desk-based scenario in VR. Therefore, we compare a menu that once is placed on the surface of a desk and once mid-air on a surface in front of the user. The study design is completed by two conditions without passive haptic feedback. In the conducted user study (n = 33) we found effects of passive haptics (present vs- non-present) and menu alignment (desk vs. mid-air) on the task performance and subjective look & feel, however the race between the conditions was close. An overall winner was the mid-air menu with passive haptic feedback, which however raises hardware requirements.

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