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

Services provided by the Lab can be used by all NASA employees and potentially by outside members of the scientific community. Below are a description of the visualization services provided and example projects of each.

Scientific Visualization

Visualization of liquid hydrogen in a cryotank.
Visualization of liquid hydrogen in a cryotank.

The GVIS Lab is predominately used to analyze data obtained either by computer simulation or from one of NASA Glenn’s research test facilities. Through this service, the GVIS Lab is able to support all areas of research at NASA and provide researchers, engineers and others with a tool to better understand and gain insight into the complex relationships among their data.

Example scientific visualization projects:

• Stereoscopic visualizations of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) results

Data Visualization

A quick-reference map of data.
A quick-reference map of data.

Data visualization can be an extremely powerful way to explore and explain data. Like scientific visualization, data visualization allows researchers to more quickly and intuitively understand data. These tools are able to aid NASA employees in their research, presentations and projects.

Example data visualization projects:

• Systems engineering relationships visualization
• Visualization of wind tunnel results

Virtual and Augmented Reality

A girl wears an augmented reality headset.
A guest uses one of GVIS Lab’s augmented reality Hololens headsets for an immersive experience.

Virtual and augmented reality supports simulations of environments and phenomena for scientific and educational purposes. The Lab uses various VR and AR technologies including projected, tablet-based and head-mounted display devices for engineering, research and outreach.

Example virtual and augmented reality projects:

• Exploring NASA facilities that would otherwise be unavailable to visit
• Simulated testing before actual testing is performed

Mission Scenarios

A screenshot of the ISS Smoke Propagation visualization.
A screenshot of the ISS Smoke Propagation visualization.

The GVIS Lab develops custom mission scenarios, assists in recording visualizations developed by end users and provides software support for said visualizations. This support includes acquisition, enhancement, consultation and application development using that software to assist with NASA’s various missions.

Example mission scenario projects:

• ISS Smoke Propagation Visualization
• Deep Space Communications Networking

Interactive Simulations

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

Interactive simulations are custom applications that let the public and potential customers get a better understanding and more realistic experience of NASA research, technology and facilities.

Example mission scenario projects:

• Wind Tunnel Testing
• Aeronautics Icing Research

Natural User Interfaces

User using the Glasswall app
A user interacts with a Glass Wall, a natural user interface device.

Natural User Interfaces (NUIs) are software and hardware systems that allow a user to operate computing devices through intuitive human behavior. They rely on users being able to carry out relatively natural motions to control digital content. When used properly they are more easily understood by novice users and allow for greater application accessibility.

Example NUI projects:

• Space launch data report-out analysis
• Advanced collaborative tools


PSC-1 Outreach
Students at a GVIS Lab outreach event.

Unique to the GVIS Lab is its emphasis on education and outreach. GVIS conducts hands-on outreach to local schools, libraries and museums, as well as various aeronautics and space-related conferences. By educating students on coding, technology and science, the Lab hopes to inspire the next generation of STEM-minded students.

In addition, the Lab hosts several college and high school interns throughout the year allowing them the chance to work on real-world NASA projects.

Visualizations We Use for Outreach

  • Mars Augmented Reality Visualization: Walk around the surface of Mars and get up close to the Curiosity rover.
  • International Space Station Virtual Reality Visualization: Explore the ISS and play a microgravity building block game.
  • Titan Sub Virtual Reality Visualization: Dive into an ocean of Titan (one of Saturn’s moon) and check out a submarine designed by NASA Glenn to explore Titan’s oceans.
  • W-1A Facility Virtual Reality Visualization: Explore NASA Glenn’s W-1A test facility as it’s being used for engine research, examine an engine and pick up objects for a closer inspection.
  • QueSST Plane Virtual Reality Visualization: Examine and fly in NASA’s QueSST supersonic aircraft.
  • BLI Wind Tunnel Virtual Reality Visualization: See how wind tunnel testing is done on aircraft at NASA Glenn’s 8’x6′ Supersonic Wind Tunnel.
  • NextGen Planes Augmented Reality Visualization: View augmented reality models of planes as they’re overlaid on the real world environment.
  • Apollo 11 Virtual Reality Visualization: Launch into space, walk around the moon and land back safely to Earth.
  • Fluid Dynamics Visualization: Learn about the science behind fluid dynamics.
  • Interactive 3D Spacecraft Display: View and interact with 3D models of NASA space and aircraft.

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!

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