UniteXR: Joint Exploration of a Real-World Museum and its Digital Twin


The combination of smartphone Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) makes it possible for on-site and remote users to simultaneously explore a physical space and its digital twin through an asymmetric Collaborative Virtual Environment (CVE ). In this paper, we investigate two spatial awareness visualizations to enable joint exploration of a space for dyads consisting of a smartphone AR user and a head-mounted display VR user. Our study revealed that both, a mini-map-based method and an egocentric compass method with a path visualization, enabled the on-site visitors to locate and follow the virtual companion reliably and quickly. Furthermore, the embodiment of the smartphone user by an inverse kinematics avatar allowed the use of natural gestures such as pointing and waving which was preferred over text messages by the participants of our study. In an expert review in a museum and its digital twin we observed an overall high social presence for both the VR and AR user and found that the visualizations and the avatar embodiment successfully facilitate the communication and collaboration of on-site and remote visitors.


Ephraim Schott, Elhassan Belal Makled, Tony Jan Zoeppig, Sebastian Muehlhaus, Florian Weidner, Wolfgang Broll, Bernd Froehlich. 2023.
UniteXR: Joint Exploration of a Real-World Museum and its Digital Twin.
In 29th ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST 2023), October 09--11, 2023, Christchurch, New Zealand. ACM, New York, NY, USA 10 Pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3611659.3615708
[preprint][supplementary video]