Getting There Together: Group Navigation in Distributed Virtual Environments


Our two-user jumping technique for remote collaboration allows the navigator (blue) to adjust the translational offset of the passenger (red) when planning a jump. As a result, the group adjusts their formation during the jump, and the participants arrive at the appropriate locations to observe and discuss points of interest together.

Abstract

We analyzed the design space of group navigation tasks in distributed virtual environments and present a framework consisting of techniques to form groups, distribute responsibilities, navigate together, and eventually split up again. To improve joint navigation, our work focused on an extension of the Multi-Ray Jumping technique that allows adjusting the spatial formation of two distributed users as part of the target specification process. The results of a quantitative user study showed that these adjustments lead to significant improvements in joint two-user travel, which is evidenced by more efficient travel sequences and lower task loads imposed on the navigator and the passenger. In a qualitative expert review involving all four stages of group navigation, we confirmed the effective and efficient use of our technique in a more realistic use-case scenario and concluded that remote collaboration benefits from fluent transitions between individual and group navigation.

Our 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 Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under grant 03PSIPT5A (Provenance Analytics). We would like to thank the participants of our studies and the members of the Virtual Reality and Visualization Research Group at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.

Publication

Tim Weissker, Pauline Bimberg, and Bernd Froehlich. 2020.
Getting There Together: Group Navigation in Distributed Virtual Environments
To be published in IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics and presented at IEEE VR 2020, Atlanta, GA, USA. 2020. IEEE Computer Society.
[IEEE][preprint][video]

Best VR-in-VR Presentation Award

This work was presented at IEEE VR 2020, originally planned to take place in Atlanta, GA, USA. Due to the cancellation of the on-site event, this talk was given in virtual reality (Mozilla Hubs) on 25 March 2020. The presentation was honored with the Best VR-in-VR Presentation Award of the conference.
[talk-video]