Arrangement of Product Data in CAVE systems

Elisabeth Dittrich, Johann Habakuk Israel
It is industrial practice to conduct Design Reviews of product models by means of Virtual Reality (VR) systems. Especially in the car industry CAVEs and Power Walls are mandatory tools to visualize the current state of product models (digital prototypes). However such systems usually display only the geometric product structure as it is imported from CAD systems. Other information which are of prime importance for the decision making are usually not visualized, e.g. requirements, documents, regulations, non-visual relations between parts and function etc. Such information have to be looked up in external systems, e.g. product data management systems or other repositories. In order to improve the utility and efficiency of VR-based Design Reviews, such media breaks should be prevented and all necessary data should be available in the immersive environement. The present work provides an explorative study on possible visualization techniques for combined graphical and textual information within a CAVE. 21 subjects were asked to arrange product structures of a given product in 3d space, using various 3d interaction techniques. The resulting product structures were analysed and grouped by means of a category system. The results vary among others in terms of the visualizations of the product structure, the relations between words and the product model and the use of depth. Future research questions are derived from the results which take user experience and perceptual issues into account