IEEE VR 2018

My name is Nicko Caluya, and welcome to my first blog entry here. I am an M2 student.

Last week (March 18-22), I attended IEEE VR 2018 with labmates and professors at Stadthalle Reutlingen, at the southern part of Germany.

Stadthalle at night, all bright and colorful

Since we attended the full conference, we sat through two days of workshops, and three days of the main conference. I would like to point out some highlights from each day.

Prof. Swan’s Presentation

On the first day, I attended a tutorial session by Professor J. Edward Swan II regarding the statistics and the replication crisis. In the afternoon, I filled in the latter half of the day with a displays tutorial, where speakers talked about High Dynamic Range (HDR) and gaze-aware displays. I hopped my way through second workshop day, going from the calibration tutorial in the morning, to a tutorial in Web 3D in the early afternoon, to the last session on a workshop on perceptual and cognitive issues in AR.

Oral trying out the demo at the displays tutorial

Aside from attending the conferences, we had the chance to visit two institutes. On the second workshop day, we rode the bus to the Fraunhofer Institute at Stuttgart. The researchers took us to the Hazel Hen (a high performance computing system with peak performance of 7.42 PFlops), to an awesome CAVE (cave automatic virtual environment), to an actual (stationary) car for a driving simulator, among many awesome demonstrations. I took a picture of us wearing the glasses in the CAVE, and I can say we can definitely form a cool boy band!

The new boy band from IMD

The day after, we toured the Max Planck Institute at Tübingen to see giant rooms housing a VR CyberMotion Simulator and a cable robot where you can be suspended inside an icosahedron.

I was with Oral and Akiyama, who delivered their poster presentations on the first and second days of the main conference, respectively. Many professors and students from different universities in Japan also attended the conference. Immediately, I was already excited at the prospect of meeting people behind the cited works from our lab meetings or lessons. These names will finally have faces and characters!

Akiyama explaining his projection work 

While this was not my first time for attending a conference, I was still amazed at all the new wonderful things I have learned from the presentations. Veterans from both the academe and the industry presented their keynote presentations as if they have rehearsed all their lives for their own moments. What made me entertained so much was this keynote Dr.-Ing. Oliver Riedel, presenting the 25 years of VR in industry as an Einstein look-alike.

Dr.-Ing. Riedel’s presentation

For me, the term “virtual reality” is already such a huge domain, and I believe that the conference made me realize just how much bigger it is. For example, results from “Avatars and Virtual Humans” session used statistical treatments for within- and between-subjects studies, primarily because they deal with human perception. In another, the papers from the rendering session offer various computer graphics techniques and hardware configurations to make specific VR experiences better. And of course, the multimodality session showcased papers which featured the VR of the other senses (sound, smell, touch) which often gets overlooked by the bias of VR research towards sight. Many paper presentations amused me across all sessions. Some presentations had slides designed very elegantly. Some carried me away with either the storytelling or the amount of data they were able to analyze on one study alone.

On the final day, I presented first on a session about “Selection and Pointing”. I was surprised to hear someone say “That’s our paper!” when I was scrolling through my slides to check if the presentation worked correctly. I presented our work on comparing AR and VR environments, to see which of the two can efficiently transfer the skill of memorizing locations of objects from training to the actual scenario. During the presentation itself, I was quite nervous, but not because of the size of the screen behind me or the big hall aptly named “Grosser Saal”. I was nervous to go over the time limit and not say what I need to say. So, it was a really nice feeling to finish the presentation on time, with enough time to answer two short questions. In the afternoon, I was even able to try out a demo by Daimler, riding on a Mercedes Benz passenger seat in the snowy streets of Reutlingen.

My presentation. I am so tiny compared to the screen!

As a person who cherishes the first times, it was definitely a great experience to showcase my first research work as a first author, on my first big conference as a graduate student, on my first time in a European country (the farthest I have traveled so far – 17 hours, 9000+ kilometers!). It felt like the whole process of getting there – from conducting the experiment, to writing and violently revising the paper, to preparing all the necessary paperwork to enter Germany and attend the conference – was such a humbling experience. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made it possible for me to go through all this without fainting. Thank you most especially to Alex-sensei and Jayzon for sticking out with me in order to get the paper done. Thank you to IMD faculty and students who shared valuable comments as I showed my progress and rehearsed my presentation before leaving.

Oh, and Germany was nice, except that the weather did not cooperate (sunny in the morning, snowy in the afternoon). I had so much fun… drinking lots of beer and eating lots of bread (and schnitzel, and kebabs, and currywurst… the list goes on).

Turkish food are popular in Germany; they have a shop at almost every street corner

Tübinger Tor (the structure you see in IEEE VR 2018 logo) on a snowy afternoon

Currywurst and fries at Frankfurt Station before leaving

From now on, I am more determined to continue with my research and publish better works, with more drive and with a broader source of ideas. As I have found out from the closing ceremony, IEEE VR will be in Osaka. I hope I can participate and present again.

For now, stay tuned. To be continued. 「つづく」

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