Chair of Sociology, in particular of Modeling and Simulation

Project/Job Announcement: Human Interactions in Networked Virtual Environments


Virtual Reality techniques are increasingly being employed to investigate human behavior and cognition in complex environments. Sample applications include wayfinding and navigation in transport terminals, hospitals, or theme parks to optimize architectural features, flow capacity or signage. A new field is the application of Virtual Reality techniques to perform experimental investigations of locomotion and spatial decision-making in large groups of navigators as well as dense crowds. A key application for this approach is to better understand the cognitive and behavioral processes leading to congestion and – most importantly – group-level dynamics of emergency situations, such as panic in fire evacuation.

Task Description

In this project you will implement a networked setup allowing multiple human players to engage in a joint virtual environment, including movement, navigation and emergency response. The system is built on the Unity game engine architecture and needs to support both groups of human players and computer-controlled agents. Several input modalities need to be compared for steering the avatar of the human participant, varying the mapping of input controls (and controls sensitivity) to virtual motion. Similarly, the computer-controlled agents should be matched in their visible behavior (leg, body and head movements, eye-gaze) to the control repertory available for the human players. The project is part of an inter-disciplinary effort of computer vision, artificial intelligence, architecture, psychology and sociology, and the resulting system should be accessible and usable for researchers from diverse backgrounds.


We are looking forward to receive you application before February 16, 2015

Please send your CV and motivation letter to: Tyler Thrash,


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