Explorable Semiconductors: Interacting with Crystal Structures in Virtual Reality

Jakob Knapp
Explorable Semiconductors: Interacting with Crystal Structures in Virtual Reality
[Bachelor Thesis] [image]

Information

Abstract

Due to Virtual Reality’s recent rise in popularity, other application areas apart from the entertainment sector have shown interest to use VR applications for their purposes. In this thesis, a VR simulation, which enables the user to maneuver an electron through a virtual semiconductor’s crystalline atomic structure, is devised on behalf of the Institute of Microelectronics at the TU Wien. The application is based upon the cellVIEW framework, which was developed using the Unity game engine to visualize large sets of biomolecular data in real time. At first, background regarding the topic at hand is provided by defining what VR is, how it is achieved and how it has evolved from Charles Wheatstone’s stereoscope to the HTC Vive VR system. Building upon that knowledge, the reader is introduced to the main problems that research in the field of Virtual Reality is currently facing, especially considering the avoidance of VR sickness. For the development of the simulation devised in the course of this thesis, two main obstacles had to be overcome: moving the user through the virtual world without causing discomfort and handling collisions between the electron and the thousands of atoms in the crystal structure without losing performance. To address the first issue, related work is reviewed and drawn inspiration from. To avoid “vection”, movement in our simulation is limited to the forward direction and external forces are applied to a sphere representing the electron instead of influencing the user himself. To keep the frame-rate high despite the potentially large number of atoms in the virtual scene, a space-partitioning octree data-structure has been implemented.

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BibTeX

@bachelorsthesis{Knapp_2017_CVR,
  title =      "Explorable Semiconductors: Interacting with Crystal
               Structures in Virtual Reality",
  author =     "Jakob Knapp",
  year =       "2017",
  abstract =   "Due to Virtual Reality’s recent rise in popularity, other
               application areas apart from the entertainment sector have
               shown interest to use VR applications for their purposes. In
               this thesis, a VR simulation, which enables the user to
               maneuver an electron through a virtual semiconductor’s
               crystalline atomic structure, is devised on behalf of the
               Institute of Microelectronics at the TU Wien. The
               application is based upon the cellVIEW framework, which was
               developed using the Unity game engine to visualize large
               sets of biomolecular data in real time. At first, background
               regarding the topic at hand is provided by defining what VR
               is, how it is achieved and how it has evolved from Charles
               Wheatstone’s stereoscope to the HTC Vive VR system.
               Building upon that knowledge, the reader is introduced to
               the main problems that research in the field of Virtual
               Reality is currently facing, especially considering the
               avoidance of VR sickness. For the development of the
               simulation devised in the course of this thesis, two main
               obstacles had to be overcome: moving the user through the
               virtual world without causing discomfort and handling
               collisions between the electron and the thousands of atoms
               in the crystal structure without losing performance. To
               address the first issue, related work is reviewed and drawn
               inspiration from. To avoid “vection”, movement in our
               simulation is limited to the forward direction and external
               forces are applied to a sphere representing the electron
               instead of influencing the user himself. To keep the
               frame-rate high despite the potentially large number of
               atoms in the virtual scene, a space-partitioning octree
               data-structure has been implemented. ",
  month =      sep,
  address =    "Favoritenstrasse 9-11/186, A-1040 Vienna, Austria",
  school =     "Institute of Computer Graphics and Algorithms, Vienna
               University of Technology",
  URL =        "https://www.cg.tuwien.ac.at/research/publications/2017/Knapp_2017_CVR/",
}