DeskVR: seamless integration of virtual reality into desk-based data analysis workflows

  • DeskVR: Nahtlose Integration von virtueller Realit├Ąt in tischbasierte Arbeitsprozesse der Datenanalyse

Zielasko, Daniel; Kuhlen, Torsten (Thesis advisor); Weyers, Benjamin (Thesis advisor)

Aachen (2020)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Dissertation, RWTH Aachen University, 2020


Lifting of virtual reality from the rollercoaster of hypes, and putting it on a substantial track through our lives, needs applications that sustainably bring benefits that exceed the costs to the user. Also, while in the past there has been a lot of research activity engaged in increasing and carving out the benefits of immersive technology, there has been much less in reducing the actual costs. The recent rise of consumer HMDs radically changed the possibilities in this endeavor. We believe that the actual low price and high quality were just door openers, but the main and unique feature is the small device footprint. People suddenly can carry around and use affordable and high fidelity virtual reality devices wherever they want, without the need to visit special purpose facilities. In this thesis, we, therefore, are looking into the possibilities and unique challenges this raises for (office) desk-based working scenarios, as they are ubiquitous in data analysis. As part of our contribution, we, first, characterize this scenario, introduce the term deskVR and name the technical challenges that come with it. Furthermore, we tackle specific demands in two pillars of interaction in virtual reality, selection & manipulation, and navigation. These demands are mainly characterized by the fact that a user will most of the time be seated and the integration of additional hardware, such as controllers and advanced tracking devices, would again increase the costs. As a result, we come up with a new seated travel technique and manifold support for hands-free interaction, including desk-aligned passive haptic menus. Then, we investigate passive and active methods to prevent and reduce cybersickness, for which one primary driver is virtual travel - as for us, tackling cybersickness is one of the critical tasks that have to be solved to integrate virtual reality into everyday life successfully. Finally, and driven by the needs of our partners in neuroscience, we apply the methods and findings made in this thesis to a prototypical application framework for immersive 3D graph exploration, serving as proof of concept for the integrability of virtual reality into desk-based working scenarios. In the graph visualization domain, we then also propose new vertex positioning and edge bundling methods that address challenges arising with the performed up-projection into 3D interactive space.