showing 2D data in a 3D way

Doctoral project: Supporting Synchronous Asymmetric Data Exploration using Virtual Reality within the context of Collaborative Immersive Analytics

Immersive technologies, such as virtual reality, enable humans to experience and interact with computer systems using skills learned through life, in a natural way. The aim of this doctoral project is to increase understanding towards the design of interactive applications that utilize immersive technologies for the purpose of data exploration and analysis.

Project information

Doctoral student
Nico Reski
Aris Alissandrakis
Assistant supervisor
Andreas Kerren
1 May 2017–30 Apr 2022
Computer science and media technology (Department of Computer Science and Media Technology, Faculty of Technology)

More about the project

Immersive technologies, for instance virtual reality and 3D user interfaces, enable a user to experience and interact in computer-generated virtual 3D environments more naturally, as one would in reality, utilizing skills learned through life. Immersive analytics, an emerging field of research, is concerned with the application of such technologies with the purpose to data exploration, interaction, and interpretation, as well as analytical meaning- and decision-making.

Within different scenarios and contexts, massive amounts of data are collected at almost all times ("big data challenge"). Therefore, it becomes more and more important for researchers to visualize, interpret, find patterns, and make meaning from those data. Despite advances in techniques that assist data analysts, such as machine learning and data mining, a need for human interpretation, contextualization, and further meaning and decision making remains. Immersive visualization and interaction technologies hold potential to provide desired tools and workflows to support human users with this challenge.

The purpose of the research project is to

  1. investigate interaction design approaches to navigate time-oriented data using 3D user interfaces, and
  2. explore collaborative aspects of interacting in the VR environment in an asymmetrical scenario, where one collaborator is immersed in VR, while another operates a non-immersive application for the purpose of synchronous collaboration for data analysis.

The design space of this interdisciplinary research, including methodological considerations, is synthesized of related work according to topics such as human-computer interaction, virtual reality, 3D user interfaces, immersive analytics, and computer-supported cooperative work, among others.

Expected results include both the developed prototypes and framework, as well as contributions to the literature and the scientific community towards a better understanding of the challenges of designing such prototypes. The research aims to contribute to the emerging field of immersive analytics through the investigation of

  1. novel interaction approaches to navigate time-oriented data within the immersive 3D space, and
  2. features that support and facilitate collaboration using a mixture of (new) immersive and (existing) non-immersive tools.

More specifically, the research aims to contribute in advancing analytical workflows that

  1. facilitate engagement and motivation during the data analysis activity,
  2. integrate in existing data analysis practices, and
  3. encourage collaboration and co-located meaning- and decision-making through the use of both immersive and non-immersive tools by the data analysts.

The project is part of the research in the VRxAR Labs and ISOVIS research groups.