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.

Dominik Rausch receives doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University

Today, our colleague Dominik Rausch successfully passed his Ph.D. defense and received a doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University for his thesis on "Modal Sound Synthesis for Interactive Virtual Environments". Congratulations!

Dec. 14, 2017

ICT Young Researcher Award 2017 for Andrea Bönsch

By means of a yearly award, the profile area "Information and Communication Technology" at RWTH Aachen University honors young researchers who contribute significantly to the ICT-related research and show the potential to further improve the international visibility of ICT research at RWTH Aachen University. Andrea Bönsch was selected by the Steering Committee of the profile area ICT as one of the recipient of the 2017 ICT Young Researcher Award. The award is donated with 3000 Euro, supporting her research career.

Nov. 16, 2017

Torsten Kuhlen gave an invited talk at the ART Days 2017 in Ottobrunn, Munich.

June 2, 2017

Profile Area Information and Communication Technology now on LinkedIn

The Profile Area Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) plays an important role in all global challenges the institutional strategy of RWTH Aachen University addresses. Major topics of ICT such as Smart Systems, eHealth & AAL, Wireless Communication or Data Mining have an enormous research potential and a considerable practical relevance. However, the challenges occurring in this fields can only be solved on an interdisciplinary level. Therefore, the RWTH Aachen University founded the interdisciplinary Profile Area ICT with the respective Project House ICT Foundations of a Digitized Industry, Economy, and Society. Both, the Visual Computing Institute as well as the Chair of Computer Science 12, are members of this Project House with, in total, three projects.

In order to share and discuss ICT related information, the Profile Area ICT now has a LinkedIn presence. So, visit our profile and follow us on LinkedIn.

May 15, 2017

Theodore-von-Kármán-Fellowship for Bernd Hentschel

Bernd Hentschel spent one month (April 2017) abroad by Hank Childs, an Associate Professor in the Computer and Information Science Department at the University of Oregon, USA, through a Theodore-von-Kármán Fellowship for Outgoing Scientists. Congratulations!

May 1, 2017

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

Recent Publications

Fluid Sketching — Immersive Sketching Based on Fluid Flow

Proceedings of IEEE Virtual Reality Conference 2018

Fluid artwork refers to works of art based on the aesthetics of fluid motion, such as smoke photography, ink injection into water, and paper marbling. Inspired by such types of art, we created Fluid Sketching as a novel medium for creating 3D fluid artwork in immersive virtual environments. It allows artists to draw 3D fluid-like sketches and manipulate them via six degrees of freedom input devices. Different sets of brush strokes are available, varying different characteristics of the fluid. Because of fluid's nature, the diffusion of the drawn fluid sketch is animated, and artists have control over altering the fluid properties and stopping the diffusion process whenever they are satisfied with the current result. Furthermore, they can shape the drawn sketch by directly interacting with it, either with their hand or by blowing into the fluid. We rely on particle advection via curl-noise as a fast procedural method for animating the fluid flow.


You Spin my Head Right Round: Threshold of Limited Immersion for Rotation Gains in Redirected Walking

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics

In virtual environments, the space that can be explored by real walking is limited by the size of the tracked area. To enable unimpeded walking through large virtual spaces in small real-world surroundings, redirection techniques are used. These unnoticeably manipulate the user’s virtual walking trajectory. It is important to know how strongly such techniques can be applied without the user noticing the manipulation—or getting cybersick. Previously, this was estimated by measuring a detection threshold (DT) in highly-controlled psychophysical studies, which experimentally isolate the effect but do not aim for perceived immersion in the context of VR applications. While these studies suggest that only relatively low degrees of manipulation are tolerable, we claim that, besides establishing detection thresholds, it is important to know when the user’s immersion breaks. We hypothesize that the degree of unnoticed manipulation is significantly different from the detection threshold when the user is immersed in a task. We conducted three studies: a) to devise an experimental paradigm to measure the threshold of limited immersion (TLI), b) to measure the TLI for slowly decreasing and increasing rotation gains, and c) to establish a baseline of cybersickness for our experimental setup. For rotation gains greater than 1.0, we found that immersion breaks quite late after the gain is detectable. However, for gains lesser than 1.0, some users reported a break of immersion even before established detection thresholds were reached. Apparently, the developed metric measures an additional quality of user experience. This article contributes to the development of effective spatial compression methods by utilizing the break of immersion as a benchmark for redirection techniques.


Interactive Exploration of Dissipation Element Geometry

Eurographics Symposium on Parallel Graphics and Visualization (2017)

Dissipation elements (DE) define a geometrical structure for the analysis of small-scale turbulence. Existing analyses based on DEs focus on a statistical treatment of large populations of DEs. In this paper, we propose a method for the interactive visualization of the geometrical shape of DE populations. We follow a two-step approach: in a pre-processing step, we approximate individual DEs by tube-like, implicit shapes with elliptical cross sections of varying radii; we then render these approximations by direct ray-casting thereby avoiding the need for costly generation of detailed, explicit geometry for rasterization. Our results demonstrate that the approximation gives a reasonable representation of DE geometries and the rendering performance is suitable for interactive use.

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