VR environment for the home office

July 10, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
A software platform enables cross-location collaboration in 3-dimensional space.
Simulation results from supercomputers or design data from CAD systems are usually visualized and analyzed in a "cave" - a space into which a 3D environment is projected. However, the "social distancing" required by the Corona pandemic is not possible there. In a joint project, visualization experts from several universities have developed a software platform that enables the cooperation of spatially separated people in virtual environments (virtual or augmented reality, VR/AR).

For the time being, the software is intended for the internal use of the six affiliated colleges and universities: Team members from science, research, development and application can use the VR software developed in the KoLab-BW project "Virtual Collaboration Laboratories Baden-Württemberg" as well as inexpensive, commercially available VR glasses and controllers to meet in a virtual meeting room whose hardware can be placed anywhere. Represented by avatars, they interact with each other in this virtual room and jointly analyze 3D visualizations - directly from their workstations or even in their home offices.

Especially in scenarios that make spontaneous personal meetings difficult - distributed locations of employees or even "social distancing" - this technology supports collaboration and facilitates work processes that are currently significantly more difficult. Not only in corona times, this will help, among other things, to accelerate scientific findings or significantly shorten the time it takes to introduce new products to the market. It is also expected that the new software will be of great benefit in the area of education and training. For example, it could significantly support the training of students or be used for modern methods of distance learning.

Participating in the KoLab-BW project are the High Performance Computing Centre Stuttgart (HLRS), the Visualisation Institute of the University of Stuttgart (VISUS), the University of Ulm and the Virtual Reality Competence Centre of the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences (KVE) as well as a number of Universities of Applied Sciences in the state of Baden-Württemberg. The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Art of Baden-Württemberg.

Contact for more information: Dr. Uwe Wössner, woessner@hlrs.de

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