Universiteit Leiden

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Explore the universe in VR

Navigating through the universe with VR glasses? It is possible, with the help of the new computer application built by Marc Driessen, a Computer Science student at Leiden University. As part of the course Human Computer Interaction (HCI), he developed a Virtual Reality Experience of our galaxy in about a year time.

Kepler VR

He named the Virtual Reality application Kepler VR, after the Kepler Telescope (which was, in its turn, named after astronomer Johannes Kepler). It occurred to Driessen that a lot of data about our galaxy is available in the NASA database, but that this data is difficult to understand when you are not an astronomer. 'That should become a lot more appealing!' Driessen thought.

'The goal of the project is to get people out of their small-scale vision around our own planet. Instead, the user gets a new enlarged image  of the existence of more than 3,735 exoplanets.’ In Kepler VR you can visit the various stars and planets, including the exoplanets discovered so far.

User experience

Based on the NASA data, Driessen visualized the planets down to the smallest details. Accessibility was one of his main focusses. β€˜In the Information Visualization (InfoVis) course, the interaction between people and computers plays a central role. I try to make elements of the scientific world attractive in a game world. Hereby I mainly focus on the experience of the user.’

The universe in VR by Marc Driessen

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Want to experiment yourself?

The application runs with a good computer and VR hardware like the HTC Vive. If you are curious about the release of Kepler VR, keep an eye on our newsletter!

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