Viktorija Paneva

I am a PhD candidate in the field of Human-Computer Interaction in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bayreuth. As part of the Serious Games Chair, led by Prof. Dr. Jörg Müller, I focus on model-based optimal control of physical user interfaces, in particular holographic displays based on acoustic levitation technology. From December 2017 to March 2021, I was part of the European project Levitate (Horizon 2020), with a research stay at the lab of Prof. Sriram Subramanian at the University of Sussex in 2019.

I was awarded an Erasmus Mundus Joint Degree of Master of Science in Mathematical Modeling in Engineering by the University of Hamburg and the University of L'Aquila. Previously, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics from Jacobs University Bremen.

Find me on Google Scholar, ORCHID, ResearchGate, and Twitter or contact me via vpaneva[at]


Video Preview

Full Video Talk from SIGGRAPH'22 (hybrid)

OptiTrap: Optimal Trap Trajectories for Acoustic Levitation Displays

To appear in ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG)

Viktorija Paneva, Arthur Fleig, Diego Martínez Plasencia, Timm Faulwasser, and Jörg Müller. 2022. OptiTrap: Optimal Trap Trajectories for Acoustic Levitation Displays. ACM Trans. Graph. ,14 pages.

ABSTRACT Acoustic levitation has recently demonstrated the ability to create volumetric content by trapping and quickly moving particles along reference paths to reveal shapes in mid-air. However, the problem of specifying physically feasible trap trajectories to display desired shapes remains unsolved. Even if only the final shape is of interest to the content creator, the trap trajectories need to determine where and when the traps need to be, for the particle to reveal the intended shape. We propose OptiTrap, the first structured numerical approach to compute trap trajectories for acoustic levitation displays. Our approach generates trap trajectories that are physically feasible and nearly time-optimal, and reveal generic mid-air shapes, given only a reference path (i.e., a shape with no time information). We provide a multi-dimensional model of the acoustic forces around a trap to model the trap-particle system dynamics and compute optimal trap trajectories by formulating and solving a non-linear path following problem. We formulate our approach and evaluate it, demonstrating how OptiTrap consistently produces feasible and nearly optimal paths, with increases in size, frequency, and accuracy of the shapes rendered, allowing us to demonstrate larger and more complex shapes than ever shown to date.

Talk from ACM CHI'20 (virtual)

Levitation Simulator: Prototyping Ultrasonic Levitation Interfaces in Virtual Reality

Viktorija Paneva, Myroslav Bachynskyi, and Jörg Müller. 2020. Levitation Simulator: Prototyping Ultrasonic Levitation Interfaces in Virtual Reality. Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 1–12. DOI:

ABSTRACT We present the Levitation Simulator, a system that enables researchers and designers to iteratively develop and prototype levitation interface ideas in Virtual Reality. This includes user tests and formal experiments. We derive a model of the movement of a levitating particle in such an interface. Based on this, we develop an interactive simulation of the levitation interface in VR, which exhibits the dynamical properties of the real interface. The results of a Fitts' Law pointing study show that the Levitation Simulator enables performance, comparable to the real prototype. We developed the first two interactive games, dedicated for levitation interfaces: LeviShooter and BeadBounce, in the Levitation Simulator, and then implemented them on the real interface. Our results indicate that participants experienced similar levels of user engagement when playing the games, in the two environments. We share our Levitation Simulator as Open Source, thereby democratizing levitation research, without the need for a levitation apparatus.

Talk from ACM DIS'20 (virtual)

HaptiRead: Reading Braille as Mid-Air Haptic Information

Viktorija Paneva, Sofia Seinfeld, Michael Kraiczi, and Jörg Müller. 2020. HaptiRead: Reading Braille as Mid-Air Haptic Information. Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference. Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 13–20. DOI:

ABSTRACT Mid-air haptic interfaces have several advantages - the haptic information is delivered directly to the user, in a manner that is unobtrusive to the immediate environment. They operate at a distance, thus easier to discover; they are more hygienic and allow interaction in 3D. We validate, for the first time, in a preliminary study with sighted and a user study with blind participants, the use of mid-air haptics for conveying Braille. We tested three haptic stimulation methods, where the haptic feedback was either: a) aligned temporally, with haptic stimulation points presented simultaneously (Constant); b) not aligned temporally, presenting each point independently (Point-By-Point); or c) a combination of the previous methodologies, where feedback was presented Row-by-Row. The results show that mid-air haptics is a viable technology for presenting Braille characters, and the highest average accuracy (94% in the preliminary and 88% in the user study) was achieved with the Point-by-Point method.

Talk Recording from ACM ISS'18 - joint presentation with Myroslav Bachynskyi

LeviCursor: Dexterous Interaction with a Levitating Object

Myroslav Bachynskyi, Viktorija Paneva, and Jörg Müller. 2018. LeviCursor: Dexterous Interaction with a Levitating Object. In Proceedings of the 2018 ACM International Conference on Interactive Surfaces and Spaces (ISS '18). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 253–262. DOI:

ABSTRACT We present LeviCursor, a method for interactively moving a physical, levitating particle in 3D with high agility. The levitating object can move continuously and smoothly in any direction. We optimize the transducer phases for each possible levitation point independently. Using precomputation, our system can determine the optimal transducer phases within a few microseconds and achieves round-trip latencies of 15 ms. Due to our interpolation scheme, the levitated object can be controlled almost instantaneously with sub-millimeter accuracy. We present a particle stabilization mechanism which ensures that the levitating particle is always in the main levitation trap. Lastly, we conduct the first Fitts' law-type pointing study with a real 3D cursor, where participants control the movement of the levitated cursor between two physical targets. The results of the user study demonstrate that using LeviCursor, users reach performance comparable to that of a mouse pointer.

Poster Presentations

ZD.B Symposium - 1. Networking Congress, Chiemsee, Germany, October 25-26, 2018.BEST POSTER AWARD
ZD.B Symposium - 2. Networking Congress, Neumarkt i.d.OPf., Germany, November 28-29, 2019.

Academic Service


2022 - CHI, IEEE VR, ICMI, DIS*, ISS, AutomotiveUI, SUI, VRST

2021 - CHI, ICMI*, AutomotiveUI

2020 - CHI, ISS, ICMI, SUI, AutomotiveUI

2019 - ICMI, AutomotiveUI

*Outstanding Reviewer Award (Top 10%)