Multi-Window 3D Interaction for Collaborative Virtual Reality

Three users collaboratively explore a 3D building model in a co-located multi-user multi-display environment. The physical displays (wall and tabletop) and additional virtual views (portals) facilitate the simultaneous exploration of the virtual scene from different viewpoints. User input (e.g., a 3D pick ray) can be consistently applied across these independent viewing windows. 3D video avatars represent the users in the virtual environment (see tabletop view).

Abstract

We present a novel collaborative virtual reality system that offers multiple immersive 3D views at large 3D scenes. The physical setup consists of two synchronized multi-user 3D displays: a tabletop and a large vertical projection screen. These displays afford different presentations of the shared 3D scene. The wall display lends itself to the egocentric exploration at 1:1 scale, while the tabletop affords an allocentric overview. Additionally, handheld 3D portals facilitate the personal exploration of the scene, the comparison of views, and the exchange with others. Our developments enable seamless 3D interaction across these independent 3D views. This requires the simultaneous representation of user input in the different viewing contexts. However, the resulting interactions cannot be executed independently. The application must coordinate the interactions and resolve potential ambiguities to provide plausible effects. We analyze and document the challenges of seamless 3D interaction across multiple independent viewing windows, propose a high-level software design to realize the necessary functionality, and apply the design to a set of interaction tools. Our setup was tested in a formal user study, which revealed general advantages of collaborative 3D data exploration with multiple views in terms of user preference, comfort, and task performance.

This research has received funding from the European Unions Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation under the Specific Grant Agreement No. 785907 (Human Brain Project SGA2) and from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under grant 03PSIPT5A (project Provenance Analytics).

Publication

André Kunert, Tim Weissker, Bernd Froehlich, and Alexander Kulik. 2019.
Multi-Window 3D Interaction for Collaborative Virtual Reality
Early Access IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics. DOI: doi.org/10.1109/TVCG.2019.2914677
[preprint][video]