31st January 2013

The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT helps to shape the future with novel, market-oriented products. Its researchers work in interdisciplinary teams and combine insights from computer science with questions from other fields. Thus, the institute invents and develops custom-tailored applications to support people in their jobs and to enrich their leisure time.

"Working with Xsens products allows us to quickly prototype new application scenarios that go beyond what seems to be currently possible."

Leif Oppermann, Fraunhofer FIT

The Mixed and Augmented Reality Solutions team at Fraunhofer FIT conducts research in the area of human-computer interaction, novel user interfaces and application scenarios, often in a mobile setting. It assembles and develops custom-tailored Augmented (AR), Virtual (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) systems into novel showcase installations, ranging from touch-less interaction to pervasive, location-based games, e. g. for trade fairs, events, or company use.

Fraunhofer FIT has developed the world’s first underwater Augmented Reality game and presented it at SIGGRAPH. In this prototype, the user acts as a maritime archaeologist who is supposed to find and open a sunken virtual treasure chest by diving in a real swimming pool. To enable this, the virtual environment is projected into the user’s field of view in correct perspective. The central component of the mobile hardware is an optical see-through display mounted in front of a diving mask. Rendering of the virtual objects is performed on a sealed and waterproof, ultra-mobile PC. A hybrid tracking approach, combining inertial, magnetic-field-based with optical (marker-based) tracking, is used to determine position and orientation of the user, and thus to render the virtual content in the correct perspective.

Lisa Blum, the original developer of this prototype, explains: “In our application, the Xsens MTx sensor bridges the gap if the marker tracking fails, which can easily happen due to occlusion of the marker during swimming movements.”

Leif Oppermann, head of the Mixed Reality team at Fraunhofer FIT, adds:“Working with Xsens products allows us to quickly prototype new application scenarios that go beyond what seems to be currently possible. Their small size and high performance provide an ideal match for our Mixed Reality scenarios and we will continue to use them in future projects.”

Erik Wilbrink, VP Sales & Marketing at Xsens, comments: “We are delighted to see our technology being applied to new domains in such ingenious ways, as we can see it in Fraunhofer FIT’s Underwater Augmented Reality scenario. We see this as a reassurance of the versatility of our products.”

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