Virtual Reality Solution Center

Virtual reality has established itself as an important tool for product development and presentation within the last few years. In order to tap new potentials of this technology, to establish new fields of application and to further develop existing technologies, the Virtual Reality Lab was established in 2001.


Today, the lab is a competence center where innovative basic technologies, such as projection-based 3D visualization, 3D interaction technologies and haptic interaction solutions are constantly being developed. Based on these technologies, applications are developed in the classic application fields of CAD, CAS and, in addition, new VR application possibilities are opened up in the areas of fly-and-walk-through for technology and architecture, installation and removal investigations, training platforms, prototype development and telepresent machine controls.

Our competences

  • Distributed VR Visualization
    In order to control different immersive viewing devices in a comfortable, flexible and performant way, an OpenSG-based VR visualization system and configuration software were developed. Our advanced server-client approach ensures a strict separation of I/O tasks, application and visualization, which run as independent processes on separate servers.
  • Rapid prototyping of 3D tools
    The VRIB project involved the development of a new methodology for developing 3D interaction tools more quickly and easily. The work was carried out with the goal of being able to work with the resulting tools as intuitively and naturally as in the real world. Exemplarily, three interaction tools for different application areas have already been developed.
  • VR I/O Management
    Integrating new interaction devices into VR applications is often a lengthy process. Our hardware integration platform dramatically simplifies this process for both commercial and in-house developed interaction devices. Flexibility is ensured by a uniform XML description of components and interfaces. The system allows connection reconfiguration at runtime without restarting or recompiling.
  • Kinesthetic 6-DoF Interaction
    Based on two actuator components, we have developed a new kinesthetic force feedback system. The system can be used to provide almost any interaction device with physical properties such as weight, inertia, and collision forces and torques. Depending on the intended application, specific interaction devices can be used, such as real, medical instruments for virtual surgery simulations or technical aggregates as required in the automotive industry. A minimum of friction losses as well as an optimally balanced load distribution allow the user to handle virtual objects with a much more realistic feel.
  • Dynamic installation and removal simulation
    Today's real-time simulations often neglect the physical properties of the object to be simulated. However, for example, the inclusion of the elasticity of a component within the simulation is needed when cooling or hydraulic hoses are to be handled within a virtual development environment. As an example, we have developed and prototypically implemented methods for the virtual handling of flexible components such as hydraulic lines or hoses. Based on the installation and removal tests that can be performed with these methods, motion paths and volumes can be recorded and used for subsequent development processes.
  • Immersive styling
    In order to convert 2D sketches into CAD models, a highly interactive modeling tool is required. For this purpose we have developed the modeling technique of "Virtual Clay Modeling", which shows strong analogies to conventional clay modeling. For the industrial designer, this technique provides modeling tools that allow interactive work with a virtual clay model. A virtual clay modeler forms the basis for a prototype that allows interactive modeling and visualization of highlight lines for surface evaluation. Multimodal VR interaction techniques provide a realistic sensation during modeling.
  • Immersive machine tool design
    Together with other Fraunhofer institutes, IPK is developing a VR-supported modular solution for the end-to-end design of machine tools. The novel system - called "VRAx" in reference to common CAx tools - treats machine elements as components of a construction kit and summarizes their geometry, parameters and function. By providing individual construction kits for tools, clamping devices, components and basic structures, VRAx considerably simplifies the assembly of new machines. For the first time, VRAx uses VR technologies as an active development and design medium for immersive modeling, i.e. the data generated in VR is fed back into the overall development process.