ViSTA Virtual Reality Toolkit



The toolkit aims to enhance scientific applications with methods and techniques of Virtual Reality and immersive visualization, thus enabling researchers from multiple disciplines to interactively analyze and explore their data in virtual environments.

What is ViSTA?

The ViSTA virtual reality toolkit allows integration of VR technology and interactive, 3-D visualization into technical and scientific applications. It has been developed at the Virtual Reality Group at RWTH Aachen University for more than ten years, and recently a cooperation in its development with the DLR Braunschweig was established.

ViSTA consists of multiple components, fulfilling specialized:

  • The VistaCoreLibs provide basic and commonly use functionality for virtual reality application, such as
    • Display Management
    • Device input for a variety of VR input and output devices, for example tracking camers or haptic devices.
    • Input device abstraction using a dataflow network
    • Coupling to the OpenSG scenegraph library (OpenSceneGraph - support planned)
    • Cluster mode for distributed execution of ViSTA applications for multi-display environments
    • Utilities for system-independent use of threads, connections, files, timers and so on
  • The VistaFlowLib provides methods for scientific visualization
    • Data and time management
    • Interaction methods
    • Rendering methods
    • Particle tracing
  • The VistaAddonLibs provide specialized functionality, for example
    • Collision and physics simulation
    • Methods for medical simulation (for example Haptics, Softbody simulation)
    • Audio interface

How to get ViSTA?

The ViSTA core libraries are open source and licesnsed under the LGPL.
You can find them on as 'vistavrtoolkit'.

Partners in this Project

Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Simulation and Software Technology



  • Torsten Kuhlen, Thomas Beer, Andreas Gerndt (2009)
    The ViSTA Virtual Reality Toolkit. 5th High-End Visualization Workshop, Baton Rouge, Lousianna


  • Ingo Assenmacher and Torsten Kuhlen (2008)
    The ViSTA Virtual Reality Toolkit, SEARIS Workhop on IEEE VR, Reno

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