Best Application Paper Award for paper by Khalid Azougagh et al.

A paper submitted to the EuroXR 2021 Conference by Khalid Azougagh, Jesse van den Berge and Robert Belleman won the “Best Application Paper Award”. The committee was impressed by the demonstration that was presented during the conference and they underlined the novelty and great potential of this work to augment the treatment of young children with selective mutism. Congratulations team!

VAR4Good 2021: projects

It’s a wrap! The very first course “Virtual and Augmented Reality for Good” (VAR4Good) at UvA has finished. Nine projects have been submitted by the 44 students that have joined this course.

Below are the videos made by each group to give you an impression on what they built. If you have an Oculus Quest (1 or 2) and don’t mind sideloading you can even download an installation package and try the applications yourself! Click on the title below the video to download.

Group H: “Free the sea!” by Ruben, Joy, Nils, Laurens and Tom.

Group B: “VRampage” by Jari, Danilo, Jonathan, Coen and Melissa.

Group F: “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Accessibility” by Nick, Jolly, Younes, Ruben and Alon.

Group J: “Claustrophobia Simulator” by Lennart, Salo, Sander, Luc and Bryan.

Group A: “Virtual Lectures” by Joris, Susan, Bor, Marten and Ingur.

Group E: “Hemellichaam Simulator” by Gerson, Tristan, Jinke, Niels and Cas.

Group C: “The Overview Effect” by Boaz, Marco, Maqsood and Jesse.

Groep G: “ClausAway” by Daniel, Reinier, Thomas, Stan and Denny.

Group I: “Drum Simulator” by Giulia, Niels, Jason, Onno and Jasper.

VAR4Good kick-off during lockdown

In January 2021, the elective course “Virtual and Augmented Reality for Good” (VAR4Good) is taught at University of Amsterdam for the very first time. Because of the COVID-19 lockdown in the Netherlands, most of the course content has been changed into online material, but we have been granted permission by the faculty to give students access to VR headsets in the Visualisation Lab at Science Park. In the lab, students get access to five out of a total of ten Oculus Quest headsets (version 1) that we have on loan from our colleagues from Free University Amsterdam.

We have implemented multiple layers of protection to minimise the risk of infection from the shared use of headsets:

  1. Twice a week, students meet in the Visualisation Lab for two hours in groups of no more than five to ensure a minimum working distance of 1.5m.
  2. Each student is given a personal silicon face mask to limit contact between the face and the headset.
  3. Between groups, headsets and controllers are cleaned using disinfectant wipes and exposure to UVC light using a CX1 from Cleanbox technologies.

The VAR4Good course is modeled after similar courses previously taught by universities elsewhere. The objective for students in their project is to develop an interactive VR application on a subject with a societal relevance.

VAR4Good students get introduced to VR for the first time.

Scientific Visualization & Virtual Reality Projects 2020

The visualization project for the course Scientific Visualization & Virtual Reality, three challenges from IEEE SciVis contests were implemented. The challenges covered 1) earth mantle convection, 2) deep water asteroid impacts and 3) advanced visualization of neurosurgical planning. A few examples of group projects are shown for these subjects.

Earth Mantle Convection

Menno Bruin

Animation of the Earth’s mantle convection showing: (1) velocity vectors (arrow glyphs on a selected slab, scaled by vector magnitude), (2) positive (right) and negative (left) spin transition-induced density anomalies (purple-to-green isosurfaces) and (3) positive (right) and negative (left) temperature anomaly (blue-to-yellow isosurfaces).

Deep Water Asteroid Impacts

Robbert Koesveld & Koen Greuell

Animation of air and water pressure waves resulting from a deep water asteroid impact.
The colormap for pressure in the air ranges from the pressure where glass breaks risking serious injury, to the level where earlier research suggests that no humans survive. Air pressure lower than the pressure at which glass breaks is cut off. Air pressure above the colormap range is shown in the darkest shade of the colormap. Water pressure is scaled based on the range of pressures found in the water 5 seconds post asteroid impact, as the pressure decreases exponentially and peak pressure at 5 seconds post impact is likely fatal. To simultaneously see the three dimensional shape but also inside gradients of the pressure level visible without volume rendering, a quarter clip was taken out of the geometry. The speed of the animation is set to match real time and half of the available frames were rendered to reduce the computational expenses. The air pressure wave initially has a higher velocity than the water pressure wave, but slows down more quickly.

Ben Murphy & Mainah Folkers

Contribution of heat transport by eddies in the Gulf of Aden. Streamlines of a 3D flow field over one month of simulation time are coloured by temperature. Warm surfuce water is vertically mixed with colder deeper water masses by the vortices. The four eddies form a vortex street.
The eddy on the front and the third eddy rotate counter-clockwise and are identified as cyclonic eddies.
The second and fourth eddy rotate clockwise and are identified as anti-cyclonic eddies. The simulated data set was acquired from the Red Sea Modelling and Prediction Group at King Abdullah University of
Science and Technology (KAUST).

Kas Sanderink & Bart van Laatum

This is an animation of the 2-dimensional contour of the water, based on rho. The animation shows the wave generation due to deep water asteroid impact. First a crater is formed which next leads to a standing wave, reaching up to 2 km in height. As the wave collapses a traveling wave is generated. By extracting wave characteristics such as wave length and wave height, one can conclude that this is a tsunami wave.

Fiona Gallagher & Daan Moll

The animation shows the impact of the asteroid on the water surface and how it creates a pressure wave or “crater” in the water. Because the simulation did not include an asteroid airburst, 100% of the asteroid kinetic energy was present upon impact with the water resulting in an efficient transfer of energy to the water.

Sam Verhezen & Rebecca Davidsson

1. Volume rendering of pressure and temperature over time.
2. Blender reflective surface and shadowing to create realistic effects, adding a sense of depth.

Master thesis defense Romy Meester

On Monday December 14th, Computational Science student Romy Meester successfully defended her master thesis “(Semi-)automatic fetus segmentation and visualisation in 3D ultrasound: a promising perspective“. This work was done in collaboration with the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department of Imperial College London (Harsha Shah) and Amsterdam University Medical Center (Jaco Hagoort and Marieke Buijtendijk).

Congratulations Romy!