Skip to main content

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.

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.

A girl wearing Oculus lens
True2U Leadership Academy/ISS Downlink


The GVIS Lab’s visualizations allow people to interact with science and environments in an interactive and intuitive way.

Three people virtually explore a Glenn facility in the GRUVE lab.
Users virtually explore a Glenn facility.


The GRUVE Lab provides a fully interactive virtual reality space in which to observe and analyze data and environments.

Virtual Reality Photo


The GVIS Lab offers diverse visualization displays, solutions and services for all of NASA and the scientific community.

90s Graphics and Visualization Lab
GVIS in the mid-90s.

History of GVIS Lab

Since its creation in 1989, the GVIS Lab has had a storied visual and technological history.

GVIS tech demonstration

GVIS Students

The GVIS Lab hosts several college and high school interns throughout the year, giving motivated students the chance to develop their skills while working on real-world NASA projects. Areas of work include 3D modeling, 2D graphic design, programming, virtual and augmented reality development, communications and more. Kilian Olen is an undergraduate honors student, at Embry-Riddle … Read the rest ⇢

AR in the RGUVE Lab

Visualization Devices

The Graphics & Visualization Lab, located at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio, uses advanced technology to design and develop software applications for various audiences. The team aims to inform children, adolescents and adults about advanced technology used to support employees at Glenn. The GVIS Lab uses Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). These technologies … Read the rest ⇢

What We’re Working On

computer visualization of the activity of liquid hydrogen
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.

Image from W-1A Tour

W1A Test Facility

W-1A 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.

video featuring the W-1A visualization can be seen on our YouTube channel.

Quick Facts

3D fluid flow simulation in GVIS Lab's GRUVE Lab.
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)

360° View of the GVIS Lab

Select the image above to see a 360° view of the GVIS lab.


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 include Azure Kinect
    • Myo armband
  • 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.

Scientific Computing and Visualization Team

The GVIS Lab is part of the NASA Glenn Scientific Computing and Visualization team. The scientific computing side of the team specializes in technical areas ranging from artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science , mathematical modeling, and web software integration to AR/VR, 3D graphics, and data visualization. The Scientific Computing and Visualization team has successfully worked with a wide variety of customers in the past, including OpenMDAO, Convergent Aeronautics Solutions, Human Research Program, and even VIP events.

Contact Us!

Need to reach us? You can directly send an email to the GVIS Team or the Team Leader, Herb Schilling

Like our content? Follow us on social media @nasa_gvis on Twitter and Instagram!

Instgram Logo          Twitter Logo           YouTube Logo

Provide feedback