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Best-Paper Award for Research Team from Chemnitz and Berlin for Outstanding Contribution at a Major VR Conference

An interdisciplinary team from the Collaborative Research Center, Hybrid Societies and from the natural, engineering, human and social sciences was awarded at the international conference IEEE VR in Shanghai for a contribution in the field of telepresence

At the IEEE VR Conference in Shanghai, one of the most important conferences on virtual reality, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and Chemnitz University of Technology received the Best Paper Award. They received the award for the best submission for their contribution titled: "Evaluating the Effects of Virtual Reality Environment Learning on Subsequent Robot Teleoperation in an Unfamiliar Building".

In the award-winning paper, the researchers describe how virtual reality applications can help with orientation in unfamiliar buildings.

Among the honorees are Karl Eisenträger, a student at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and first author, Prof. Dr. Georg Jahn, head of the Professorship of Applied Gerontopsychology and Cognition, his associate Judith Haubner, as well as Jennifer Brade, Sven Winkler, and Dr. Philipp Klimant from the Professorship of Production Systems and Processes (headed by Prof. Dr. Martin Dix), along with Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Einhäuser-Treyer, head of the Professorship of Physics of Cognition, and Prof. Dr. Alexandra Bendixen, head of the Professorship of Structure and Function of Cognitive Systems (SFKS).

Virtual Tour in Advance Helps with Later Orientation on Site

In a joint study, the team investigated which sensory impressions are necessary to support spatial orientation in virtual scenarios. 66 test subjects in Berlin had to familiarize themselves with the interior of the Institute of Physics at Chemnitz University of Technology on the Reichenhainer Straße campus using a conventional building plan or virtually.

Subsequently, the test subjects had to solve orientation and navigation tasks from a distance and using a telepresence robot (see photo). The scientists found that preparation in virtual reality can be beneficial for orientation and navigation during teleoperations when people do not have access to the real environment.

Participants who had already visited the virtual Institute of Physics before the tour through the building with the telepresence robot found their way around the building significantly faster. One possible application for such systems could be training for emergency services, for example.

Background: IEEE VR

The IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces is one of the most important international conferences in the field of virtual reality. Since 1993, the annual conference offers an interdisciplinary platform for experts from computer science, psychology, engineering, and human-computer interaction to present research results.

This year's conference took place in a hybrid format in Shanghai, and the award-winning lecture was presented online.

Background: Collaborative Research Center Hybrid Societies

As part of the Collaborative Research Center Hybrid Societies at Chemnitz University of Technology, more than 60 researchers from the eight faculties of the university are fundamentally investigating how humans can coordinate smoothly and safely, for example, with autonomous vehicles and robots in public spaces. The CRC has been funded by the German Research Foundation with 11.8 million euros since 2020. Event announcements and news from the research of the CRC can be received quarterly in the Hybrid Societies Newsletter.

Publication: K. Eisenträger et al., "Evaluating the Effects of Virtual Reality Environment Learning on Subsequent Robot Teleoperation in an Unfamiliar Building," in IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 29, no. 5, pp. 2220-2229, May 2023

DOI: 10.1109/TVCG.2023.3247052

(Author: Katja Klöden / Translation: Brent Benofsky)

Matthias Fejes

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