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Prof. Bernd Froehlich, professor of Computer Science at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar - 25/03/2015

Virtual Reality : A social medium for the future

What is your main research interest and specialty?

The Virtual Reality and Visualization Research Group at Bauhaus-Universitaet Weimar carries out research and development in stereoscopic display technology, 3D human-computer interaction, information visualization, scientific visualization and real-time rendering.

Immersive telepresence system Immersive telepresence system that allows distributed groups of users to meet in a shared virtual 3D world - © Virtual Reality and Visualization Research Group at Bauhaus-Universitaet Weimar

We developed and operate the only projection-based stereoscopic display that provides six users with individual perspectively correct 3D images and, for the first time, enables effective teamwork when visualizing complex 3D models. Recent work on immersive group-to-group telepresence allows distributed groups of users to meet in shared virtual 3D worlds and explore them together. Our innovative user interfaces are designed and evaluated for complex two- and three-dimensional tasks in collocated and distributed virtual reality environments. We also develop the rendering and visualization infrastructure for the real-time display of large multi-variate image, volume and time-dependent data sets, which occur in medicine and other fields.

What are the main research achievements in your field during the past 5 years?

During the past years, we have learned how people react to immersion and which parameters are important. Of course, hardware and software have improved significantly, most notably the resolution, brightness and multi-user capability of 3D displays, the availability of inexpensive, good quality head-mounted displays, and cameras for capturing the real world in real-time and in 3D.

What are the next research challenges ahead?

I expect that virtual reality will be used for collaboration and as a social medium in the future. The development of hardware, tools and interaction techniques to enable and facilitate collaboration in virtual reality among small and large as well as local and remote groups remains a major challenge for the next years.

Prof. Bernd Froehlich is a full professor of Computer Science at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.

He is chair of the Virtual Reality and Visualization Research Group. He focuses on basic and applied research in multi-user virtual reality and 3D user interfaces, visualization and rendering algorithms for very large datasets as well as information visualization. He holds a PhD in computer science from the Technical University of Braunschweig.

After completing his PhD, he worked at the German National Research Center for Information Technology (GMD) and was a research associate with the computer science department at Stanford University. He is a cofounder and member of the steering committee of the IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces, chair of the steering committee of the IEEE Virtual Reality conference and received the 2008 Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award.

He is associate editor of the journals IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications and Frontiers in Virtual Environments.

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