Current Projects on Visualization and Interaction

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Interactive Data Visualization and Exploratory Visual Analysis of Information Spaces

Importance based volume visualization (Francisco Pinto, 2009)

The aim of this project is to investigate techniques for interactive data visualization and exploratory analysis in experimental applications involving large and/or complex datasets. Two main research lines are followed:

  • investigation of interactive volume visualization techniques, involving the generalization of different approaches for specifying color and opacity transfer functions to explore dynamic and non-structured data besides static structured volumes, and the development of volume sculpting and illustrative visualization techniques; and
  • investigation of information visualization techniques for displaying multidimensional and relational data as well, taking into account both usability and user experience evaluation.

Each one of these lines involves case studies, as for example, medical data visualization, visualization of simulation data, biodiversity data visualization and analysis, and visualization and analysis of social networks.

Research team: Carla Maria Dal Sasso Freitas, Luciana Porcher Nedel, João Luiz Dihl Comba, Francisco de Moura Pinto, Jonatas da Câmara Medeiros, André Suslik Spritzer, Sérgio Fujii, Leonardo Garcia Fischer, Juan Ibiapina, Eduardo Mesquita, Isabel Siqueira da Silva. Grants from CNPq and CAPES. Started in March 2009.

3D Hepatectomy: 3D Visualization and Interaction Applied to Liver Surgery Simulation

Functional liver segmentation (Anderson Maciel, 2010)

This project focuses on the reconstruction of liver models as well as on the simulation of hepatectomies. Techniques to measure the living liver volume and volume of functional liver segments are being explored. Such measures are essential for hepatectomy planning. The project also focuses on the construction of a 3D interactive simulation system for hepatic surgery (colecistectomy and hepatectomy) using multimodal interaction (including haptics) and scientific visualization combined with realistic rendering. The system aims at training for apprentice surgeons and planning surgery for experienced surgeons. It is based on physics, it is reactive and, at the same time, allows running on average personal computers. The system uses generic patient data for training (Visible Human) and specific patient data for planning (CT). The proposed methods are being evaluated with the assistance of medical partners (UFCSPA), including comparison with actual clinical cases and training situations. Results are being returned to the society in the form of online availability of methods, software and data as well as publications in journals and conferences.

Research team: Anderson Maciel, Luciana Nedel, Dinamar Zanchet, Marilena Maule, Henrique Debarba, Jerônimo Grandi and Daiane Fracaro. Grants from CNPq. Started in December 2008.

Windows to the Virtual World

This project aims at the development of a dynamic computing system composed by a varying number of tablet PCs (notebooks with touchscreen) which could be operated by an equaly varying number of users. From the assumtion that there is space correspondence between the real and the virtual world, users are able to visualize and interact with virtual objects by physically moving in the real world, changing postures or applying gesture. Visualization and interaction with the virtual world are mede through the tablet PCs, which here are used as windows to the virtual world. To do so, their positions and orientations are tracked in real time. The visualization can be made assuming that each tablet PC is one window and/or assuming that more than one tablet PC can be put together to form one larger window. In this case, the concept of multi-display systems is extended. A set of applications is being developed and tested to explore this new tecnology and concept. We are intereseted in both the tecnology itself and the comfort and effectiveness in user tasks to validade the system.

Research team: Luciana Nedel, Anderson Maciel, Gelson Reinaldo, Márcio Zacarias, Marilena Maule and Juliano Franz. Grants from CNPq. Started in December 2008.

Visual Interface for Managing Biodiversity Data

Two of the great challenges for Computer Science in Brazil are (#1) the management of large distributed volumes of multimedia data and (#4) providing to everyone universal and participative access to knowledge. In this project we tackle these two challenges in the context of biodiversity data. We aim at investigating computational models and methods to represent, manage and provide access to information about the animal species. The project deals with the problem of integrating different data models. In a single dataset we will handle high dimensional data at different levels of complexity, with distributed management, and we will provide access to these data at different levels of details. In the first phase, the project will deal with data describing mammals species. The differences in the description of the several taxonomical levels for classifying species introduce challenges in modeling and representation. Another challenge is to provide a visual query interface based both on attribute data and geo-referenced information regarding the specimens deposited in different mammals collections.

Research team: Carla Maria Dal Sasso Freitas, Renata Galante, Thales Renato O. Freitas, Pedro Cordeiro Estrela, Samantha Castro Cañete, Fabiano Fagundes, Rodrigo Fornel, Marcela Macedo Vieira, Denison Linus Tavares, Isabel Siqueira da Silva, André Suslik Spritzer, Rafael Henkin. Grants from CNPq. Started in January 2008.

MIDAS: Multimodal Interaction Design for Advanced Systems

The main goal of this project is to propose a methodology for modeling multimodal interfaces. This encompasses the study, conception, development, experimentation and validation of interaction techniques based on the concept of multimodality. This is a cooperation project between our group and the TELE Lab at the Université Catholique Louvain (Louvain La Neuve) and the Université Notre Dame de La Paix (Namur). As a case study, we adopted information visualization applications, due to the possibility of integrating experiences of Belgian and Brazilian research groups. The project is based on the design and development of multimodal interfaces and applications, by integrating interaction techniques using non-conventional devices, interactive data visualization and usability evaluation of these techniques.

Research team: Luciana Porcher Nedel, Carla Maria Dal Sasso Freitas, Daniela Gorski Trevisan, Benoit Macq, Jean Vanderdonckt, Monique Noirhomme, Vincent Nicolas, Kenia Sousa. Grant from CNPq/FNRS international cooperation program. Started in August 2007.

EDGE: Evaluation methods, Design Guidelines and Environments for Virtual Reality and Information Visualization Techniques

MagnetViz visualization of a co-authorship network (André Spritzer, 2009)

This project intends to develop a methodology for guiding the usability evaluation of information visualization systems and virtual reality interfaces. Specific goals are:

  • defining usability criteria adapted to information visualization systems;
  • defining conception and evaluation methods for information visualization techniques;
  • defining benchmarks to be used in the evaluation of information visualization techniques;
  • validating the usability criteria proposed by Bach and Scapin (2003) for evaluating virtual reality systems;
  • study of collaborative tasks in information visualization and virtual reality applications;
  • study of collaborative tasks in information visualization systems and virtual reality applications;
  • definition of a general methodology for evaluating the interaction in virtual reality environments and information visualization.

During this project two tools were actually developed: one for allowing coordinated views of different information visualization techniques and MagnetViz, a physically-based graph visualization technique.

The activities are developed as part of a cooperation project between our group and INRIA Futurs, INRIA Rocquencourt and PUC-Rio.

Research team: Carla Maria Dal Sasso Freitas, Luciana Porcher Nedel, Marcelo Pimenta, Jean-Daniel Fekete, Nicolas Roussel, Domique Scapin, Alberto Raposo, Nathalie Henry, André Spritzer, Raquel Pillat, Eliane Valiati. Grant from CNPq/INRIA international cooperation program. Started in May 2006.

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