The Applied Visualization Laboratory contains several 3D immersive environments for scientists and engineers to walk into their data, examine it, and provide deep analysis in pursuit of their research.

As mixed, virtual, and augmented reality technology evolves, the opportunities for portable, in-depth analysis of complex data sets increases. Augmented reality solutions are envisioned to allow researchers to have CAVE-like experiences anywhere. Web-based 3-D geographic information systems, mobile applications (for both phone and tablet) and serious games (games built for training or educational purposes) allow users to conduct research at their desks or in the field, enabling discovery outside the lab. Virtual reality exploration systems offer the ability to create visualizations of large data sets that can be projected and run in real-time simulations. Using six-degrees-of-freedom input devices – which allow a body to move forward and backward, up and down, left to right – and stereoscopic output, they offer the benefits of more realistic interaction.

The Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) opened its first Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) in 2010. With the new CAVE installed in 2017, CAES’s Applied Visualization Laboratory is even better equipped to provide researchers from universities, industry and government agencies with a user facility where they can visualize and address scientific and technical challenges.

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Recent News

  • Xingyue Yang is presenting her work titled "3D Virtual Simulation for Radiation Safety and Survey Training" at CAAV Conference, 2021
  • Rajiv Khadka is presenting his work titled "Mobile Hot Cell Digital Twin using Immersive Virtual Environment" at CAAV Conference, 2021

Recent Publications

  • Khadka, R., Koudelka, J., Kenney, K., Egan, E. Casanova, K., Hillman, B., Reed, T., Newman, G., & Issac, B. (2022, March). Mobile Hot Cell Digital Twin: End-of-life Management of Disused High Activity Radioactive Sources – 22057. In Waste Management Symposia (WMS). (accepted)


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John Koudelka
Applied Visualization Laboratory Lead

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Rajiv Khadka
Visualization Researcher

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Xingyue Yang
Visualization Researcher

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Nathan Woods
Visualization Researcher

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Porter Zohner
Data Analytics and Visualization Professional

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Shane Grover
Hardware Engineer and Data Analyst

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Shad Staples
AI Data Analytics and Visualization Department Manager


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Scientific Visualization

Scientific visualization is a collaborative branch of both science and computer graphics, concerned with the visual representation of scientific data. Visualizations are typically created to enable scientific and other technical peers to better understand their data, though they are often adapted for general audiences. At AVL, we provide expertise in all forms of visualization, with an emphasis in two- and three-dimensional representations of large computational datasets.
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Immersive Analytics

Immersive analytics aims to use interaction techniques and display systems to support analytical reasoning and decision making. One of the key components of immersive analytics is finding insights from data using visualization, display, and interaction techniques. The application of immersive analytics can be across several fields, such as biology, engineering, physics, automobile, chemistry, security, health informatics, and nuclear.

ATR2 Applied Visualization Laboratory

Digital Twins

A digital twin is a digital virtual replication of a process, product, or service. It allows the pairing of a virtual and physical world for the analysis of data and monitoring systems. It supports preventing the downtime of a system, exploring new opportunities, and planning for the future by using digital simulations. Digital twin is being used across different sectors, for instance, manufacturing, automotive, and industry. We are using digital twin technology to support real-time monitoring and simulation of the diverse experimental conditions in a nuclear reactor.

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Remote Collaboration

With the advancement of technology, researchers and scientists are exploring tools and techniques to remotely connect, conduct research, share datasets, and hold meetings. Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) can be a powerful and exciting medium to immerse the user in a simulated environment to reach a common goal. This project aims to use VR environments to support remote collaboration across geographically distributed users using diverse display devices (2D or 3D). Each participant can use voice, 2D, or an immersive 3D environment to connect, view, and share information to achieve common goals.

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Virtual Training

Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) can be used to simulate realistic scenarios in the virtual world, enabling users to train skills and learn the outcomes of their actions in the simulated environment. The virtual environment provides unlimited opportunities to prepare for workforce development. It supports delivering truly immersive virtual training experiences without the risk or the cost of taking them to a dangerous site or environment. We have developed VR/AR training project involving VR Building information modeling (BIM), radiation environment, future office spaces, and workforce development.

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Graph Visualization

Graph/Node visualization can be used to represent structural information as a diagram of an abstract graph and networks. It can be used to draw a graph network to get insights about complex connected data. A graph can be decomposed into a tree structure, which includes nodes and edges to describes the relationship between the node and edge. One of the projects that we are working on involves using graph/node visualization that incorporates machine learning malware detection and supports the analysis via interactive and immersive visualization.

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WebXR is an API that enables developers to build Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) 3D applications on a web-based platform. WebXR applications are cross-platform and accessible to users with low entry barriers. The WebXR API provides interfaces that let users interact directly with immersive devices, such as head-mounted displays, mobile devices, and desktops. WebXR applications allow users to access and interact with 3D contents on a web browser without installing applications through the app store. We are utilizing the WebXR capability to provide cross-platform immersive experiences to support visualization.

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Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) is a remote sensing method that uses light to determine variable distances by targeting an object. It is used to make 3D representation of the scanned areas due to differences in light return time after strinking the target object. 

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Simulation & Modeling

Simulation and modeling is a process that is used to create and analyze a digital prototype of a physical model, which helps an individual to predict the performance and output in the real world. We are using VR and AR for simulation and modeling. One of the projects that we are using VR/AR for simulation and modeling is the Disaster Response Complex in collaboration with Idaho State University. We simulate emergency and disaster scenarios in the virtual environment and train the first responders across several scenarios and conditions. This project will help the first responders to be prepared for the real-world.

Virtual AVL


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Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE)
Four-panel system – 12’x12’x7.5’,
Rear Digital Projection

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Inexpensive Interactive Immersive Interface
(I-quaded or IQ) Station
A low cost mobile solution similar to the CAVE

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Virtuix Omni TreadMill
It provides platform to simulates locomotion for virtual reality games and application

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A virtual reality headset to view virtual environment and interact with the environment using controller

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Magic Leap
Augmented Reality headset to augment the virtual information on top of the real world

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Augmented Reality headset to augment the virtual information on top of the real world

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Meta 2 Headset
Augmented Reality headset to augment the virtual information on top of the real world

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Laptops/Desktop Machine

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Lidar Faro Scanner
Laser scanning tools to capture exterior and interior scenes



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