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Graphics and Visualization Lab (GVIS)

The Graphics and Visualization Lab applies advanced visualization technology and expertise to create innovative solutions for NASA and the scientific community.

Facility Overview

A room filled with large computer monitors and blue signs describing work stations.
The Graphics and Visualization Lab (GVIS) at NASA’s Glenn Research Center.

For over 30 years, the Graphics and Visualization Lab (GVIS) has been providing visualization support to each of the Glenn Research Center’s core competencies. We are a unique lab that develops graphic visualizations from data and models to provide researchers, scientists, engineers and others with a visual tool to develop solutions for their work.

Our team is part of the Scientific Computing and Visualization Team at Glenn which works to unite the worlds of visualization and scientific computing.

The lab is also part of a collection of “Creative Spaces” at Glenn. It is a facility whose doors are always open for NASA employees to stop by and discuss their needs and ideas, and also to experiment with the equipment.

What We Do

One of the Lab’s main objectives is to work with scientists and engineers to produce custom graphics applications of their projects.

A fully functional and interactive 3D Stirling Engine model depicting the inner-workings of the system.

Within our varied projects, we specialize in:

  • Virtual design
  • Interactive 3D simulations
  • Natural user interface development
  • Mission scenario visualizations

The Lab supports the visualization of a wide variety of 3D data and models such as CAD, point clouds and volume data. We are capable of high-impact data visualization, web-based visualization, time-accurate data representation, and designing and testing CAD models in virtual reality.

The GVIS Lab also places an emphasis on education and outreach by educating the community through hands-on educational events at local schools, museums and organizations. By hosting tours of the lab and conducting presentations and events, the lab inspires the next generation of STEM-minded students.

What We’re Working On

A computer visualization of the activity of liquid hydrogen in a propellant tank.


NASA is working to improve storage of propellants in space. One of the most efficient propellants, liquid hydrogen, cannot be stored long-term in space—it must be kept very cold (20K) or it will boil off. This visualization shows a computer simulation of a liquid hydrogen propellant tank with an internal “jet mixer” to help equalize the internal fluid temperatures. It’ll be used to help analyze the effectiveness of this method with the aim of being able to store liquid hydrogen more efficiently for space missions.

Screenshot of NASA Glenn’s W1A virtual reality visualization.

W1A Test Facility

W1A is NASA Glenn’s Low Speed Axial Compressor facility. This virtual reality experience allows the user to take an immersive and interactive tour of the facility as it is being used for recent work on jet engine casing treatments. Using a VR headset or the Cave Automated Virtual-Reality Environment (CAVE), the user can explore the facility’s environment, examine the engine and pick up objects to better inspect them in a seemingly realistic way.

Quick Facts

Users analyze a 3D fluid flow simulation in GVIS Lab’s GRUVE Lab.
  • The GVIS Lab consists of two rooms: the main lab and the GRUVE Lab
  • All six of NASA’s Glenn Research Center’s core competencies are supported through GVIS Lab’s visualization work
  • The CAVE consists of three vertical walls and a floor measuring 22.5′ wide x 18.5′ deep x 10′ high on which computer-generated stereoscopic images are displayed
  • The Lab was the first facility in Cleveland to have high-speed frame buffers connected to a supercomputer
  • The Lab is also the first facility in Ohio to possess a Computer Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE)


The Lab maintains a large collection of computing, visualization, and user interaction devices including:

  • Virtual reality display devices
    • Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, Oculus S, Oculus Quest
    • HTC ViveOculus virtual reality headset.
    • Room-scale CAVE
  • Augmented reality head mounted displays
    • HoloLens V1 and V2
    • Magic Leap
  • 3D displays
    • zSpace
  • Psuedo 3D displays
    • Pepper’s Ghost display
    • Persistence of Vision (POV) LED displayHololens augmented reality headset.
    • Looking Glass
  • Projection devices for projected AR
  • Natural user interface devices
    • Leap Motion
    • Microsoft Kinect
  • Cameras for mixed-reality
    • ZED and ZED-Mini
  • Computing hardware
    • High-end gaming laptops
    • High-end tablets and smartphones

All of these devices are available for employees to try and test for possible application to their work.

Using Our Facilities

We support all six of the center’s core competencies and all four of NASA’s general mission directives, as well as the surrounding research community. If you are considering using our data visualization, 3D modeling, or other services, please contact us.


Herb Schilling

Follow @nasa_gvis

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