The topic of my dissertation is to create an operating system for Virtual Reality, that enables real walking: VR-OS.


Operating systems are a key component of modern computer systems. They allow applications to run on arbitrary computers and architectures by creating an abstraction of the physical hardware, an API, that prevents applications from accessing the hardware directly, which is what happens in VR today. VR applications directly access the physical hardware, which is space (and in some cases physical objects and props contained within). This is a problem, because it prevents VR applications from running in any space that does not offer at least the required amount and shape of space. Solving this problem would have substantial commercial impact, as it has all but stopped the proliferation of real-walking VR due to developers’ reluctance to require users to have actual space.


My research vision is to create an abstraction between VR applications and the space and physical objects they are using. Instead of accessing space and physical objects directly, in my system applications express their needs only be means of VR-OS API calls, which the OS then maps to the actual available physical space and physical objects. In the future, this will allow VR applications to run on a wide range of installations.



Sebastian Marwecki, Maximilian Brehm, Lukas Wagner, Lung-Pan Cheng, Florian Mueller and Patrick Baudisch. 2018. VirtualSpace - Overloading Physical Space with Multiple VR Users. Forthcoming (CHI '18)



Lung-Pan Cheng, Sebastian Marwecki, and Patrick Baudisch. 2017. Mutual Human Actuation. In Proceedings of the 30th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 797-805. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3126594.3126667


Pedro Lopes, Sijing You, Lung-Pan Cheng, Sebastian Marwecki, and Patrick Baudisch. 2017. Providing Haptics to Walls & Heavy Objects in Virtual Reality by Means of Electrical Muscle Stimulation. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1471-1482. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3025453.3025600


Sebastian Marwecki, Belén Ballester, Esther Duarte, Paul Verschure. 2017. Goal-oriented feedback on motor behavior in VR-based stroke therapy – A case study using the Rehabilitation Gaming System. Journal of Disability and Rehabilitation. Edorium J Disabil Rehabil 2017;3:36–45.

Sebastian Marwecki, Roman Rädle, and Harald Reiterer. 2013. Encouraging collaboration in hybrid therapy games for autistic children. In CHI '13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 469-474. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2468356.2468439


VirtualSpace - Overloading Physical Space with Multiple VR Users


Although virtual reality hardware is now widely available, the uptake of real walking is hindered by the fact that it requires often impractically large amounts of physical space. To address this, we present VirtualSpace, a novel system that allows overloading multiple users immersed in different VR experiences into the same physical space. VirtualSpace accomplishes this by containing each user in a subset of the physical space at all times, which we call tiles; app-invoked maneuvers then shuffle tiles and users across the entire physical space. This allows apps to move their users to where their narrative requires them to be while hiding from users that they are confined to a tile. We show how this enables VirtualSpace to pack four users into 16m2. In our study we found that VirtualSpace allowed participants to use more space and to feel less confined than in a control condition with static, pre-allocated space.

Invasion of the Wrong Planet (Bachelorthesis 2013)


Games on hybrid interactive surfaces have been shown to be an effective tool in cognitive-behavioral therapy for children with conditions in the autistic spectrum. I developed the hybrid therapy game Invasion of the Wrong Planet and conducted two consecutive studies both with children with and without autistic spectrum conditions. The studies contrast the design principle of “Encouraged Collaboration” (ECC) with the design principle of “Enforced Collaboration” (EFC). While EFC has been used in recent work on therapy games for autism, EFC is derived from specific aspects of behavioral therapy. The results show that children across both groups prefer ECC over EFC, while both design principals elicit comparable degrees of collaboration between players. The higher preference may increase motivation and therefore ECC could enhance the effectiveness of games used in behavioral therapy. The latter aim at fostering the social competence and communicative skills of children with ASD. This project has been funded by the MFG Stiftung Baden-Württemberg (Karl-Steinbuch Stipendium) in Germany and parts have been presented at CHI 2013 and 2014 as a Workshop and a Works-In-Progress paper.

View full Bachelor thesis
Bachelor thesis Marwecki.pdf
PDF-Dokument [6.4 MB]

View source code.

VR stroke therapy (Masterthesis 2015)


In this work I addressed the role of short-term goals in Virtual Reality applications for motor relearning, which benefit stroke therapy. In a study participants were to perform reaching tasks within a gamified context while being provided with feedback towards self-comparative mastery and other-comparative ego goals. Measurements include protocols for motor learning as well as subscales of the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory and task engagement variables based on movement data. Results of the study including eight stroke patients and twelve healthy participants indicate that both mastery goals and ego goals foster task engagement as well as perceived effort which potentially enhance intrinsic motivation and adherence. In addition, no effect on motor learning could be derived, which points towards the utility of short-term goals as they do not diminish therapeutic effectivity of the underlying task. This work strongly suggests the implementation of mastery and ego goals in Virtual Reality based stroke therapy, as adherence benefits from the motivational context they provide. This project was based on the Rehabilitation Gaming System of the SPECS Department of the University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. The publication is available here.

View full Master thesis
Master thesis Marwecki.pdf
PDF-Dokument [1.8 MB]

View source code.

Color Rift


To depict parallels on the influence of color stimuli on flavor identification between augmented and natural vision, I developed the Color Rift, a program which provided the wearer of a Head-Mounted Display with an altered perception of colors. Together with other students I conducted a study, which showed that flavor identification partially relies on color stimuli.

This was a group work done together with other students from the "Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media" program at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona.

Glove of first sight


In a group-oriented project, I worked on the development of an Arduino and Android based „Language Learning Glove“. This prototype acoustically names objects when touching them. On a smartphone app, users could switch between languages, in which this feedback was provided. The research question was whether spatial exploration and augmenting acoustic with haptic feedback could foster learning of new vocabulary in a foreign language.

This was a group work done together with other students from the "Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media" program at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona.

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