Project Interaction in Social Virtual Reality

Prof. Dr. Bernd Fröhlich
M.Sc. Pauline Bimberg
M.Sc. Tim Weißker


Many virtual reality interfaces in the past have primarily focused on providing immersive experiences for individual users. Recent developments, however, steer more and more towards collaborative virtual environments which allow both collocated and geographically distributed users to meet and interact with each other in a shared virtual space. 

In this project, we will explore the manifold interaction opportunities that collaborative virtual environments offer. Together, we will analyze the capabilities of existing systems and develop novel solutions in a research area of your interest. Potential topics in this regard could include, for example, the appropriate representation of users and their roles, group navigation, enabling effective and efficient group work, and dealing with nested object hierarchies.

If appropriate, we encourage and support the submission of your successful solutions developed in the project to an upcoming academic conference in the form of a small research paper or poster.


In this project, our students Ramsha Saad Thaniana, Margarita Osipova, Eric Schlossberg, and Ankith Kodanda started by exploring commercial Social VR systems as well as research papers on the subject to better understand the challenges for distributed user interaction. Afterwards, each of them focused on a particular sub-topic and developed novel solution approaches in an own distributed virtual environment built upon Unity and Photon:

  • A toolset for giving presentations in social virtual environments
  • Metaphors for managing transfers of the presenter role
  • A toolset for simulating and evaluating eye contact when direct eye tracking is not available
  • A short-term group navigation technique based on virtual hand holding

Two pilot studies conducted at the end of the project revealed promising initial results and motivate future research in each of the four areas.

Click on the image above or the link below to see a short video of the project results (~1 min):