Virtual Reality System at RWTH Aachen University

Frank Wefers, Sönke Pelzer, Dominik Rausch, Michael Vorländer, Torsten Wolfgang Kuhlen
Proceedings of the International Symposium on Room Acoustics (ISRA), 2010

During the last decade, Virtual Reality (VR) systems have progressed from primary laboratory experiments into serious and valuable tools. Thereby, the amount of useful applications has grown in a large scale, covering conventional use, e.g., in science, design, medicine and engineering, as well as more visionary applications such as creating virtual spaces that aim to act real. However, the high capabilities of today’s virtual reality systems are mostly limited to firstclass visual rendering, which directly disqualifies them for immersive applications. For general application, though, VR-systems should feature more than one modality in order to boost its range of applications. The CAVE-like immersive environment that is run at RWTH Aachen University comprises state-of-the-art visualization and auralization with almost no constraints on user interaction. In this article a summary of the concept, the features and the performance of our VR-system is given. The system features a 3D sketching interface that allows controlling the application in a very natural way by simple gestures. The sound rendering engine relies on present-day knowledge of Virtual Acoustics and enables a physically accurate simulation of sound propagation in complex environments, including important wave effects such as sound scattering, airborne sound insulation between rooms and sound diffraction. In spite of this realistic sound field rendering, not only spatially distributed and freely movable sound sources and receivers are supported, but also modifications and manipulations of the environment itself. The auralization concept is founded on pure FIR filtering which is realized by highly parallelized non-uniformly partitioned convolutions. A dynamic crosstalk cancellation system performs the sound reproduction that delivers binaural signals to the user without the need of headphones. The significant computational complexity is handled by distributed computation on PCclusters that drive the simulation in real-time even for huge audio-visual scenarios.

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title={Virtual reality system at RWTH Aachen University},
author={Schr{\"o}der, Dirk and Wefers, Frank and Pelzer, S{\"o}nke and Rausch, Dominik and Vorl{\"a}nder, Michael and Kuhlen, Torsten},
booktitle={Proceedings of the international symposium on room acoustics (ISRA), Melbourne, Australia},

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