Augmented Reality

In augmented reality (AR) virtual content is superimposed on locations or products in the real world. This approach enables the development of hybrid prototypes and experiments that integrate both visible and ordinarily invisible features of physical environments simultaneously.

Augmented reality visualization of airflow superimposed on a real-life cyclist.
Photo of two scientists spraying a mist above a model car in a wind tunnel to see air flow. One wears goggles to observe the experiment in augmented reality.

Augmented reality tools

HLRS has expertise in realizing AR applications and tangible user interfaces using the visualization software COVISE. AR functionality is provided by a plugin interface that can be customized based on the user's needs and interests.

For tracking in augmented reality, COVISE supports the optical infrared tracking systems DTrack by A.R.T., VICON MX, Optitrack, and devices that support VRPN. Marker-based tracking systems such as ARToolKit, ALVAR, and ARUCO are also supported.

Increased availability of commodity AR headsets means that we now also support AR Headsets such as the Microsoft Hololens and HTC Vive Pro.

Head-mounted display

Version 1

The hardware consists of an HMD, a stereo version of the Daeyang Cy-Visor and two pairs of PAL color cameras mounted on top of the HMD. It is connected to a Pentium IV PC with two video capture cards and a GeForce 4 Ti Graphics card running RedHat Linux.

Version 2

Version 2 of the AR HMD is now equipped with two PointGrey DragonFly Firewire cameras with 1024x768 resolution and CS-Mount lenses. The computer was upgraded to a 3GHz Xeon system also running RedHat Linux.

Version 3

Version 3 of the AR HMD is now equipped with two integrated USB2 auto focus cameras with a maximum resolution of 1280x1024.

Augmented reality software system

The software system is currently based on COVISE and AR-Toolkit, ALVAR, or ARUCO but can easily be extended through a flexible plugin system. OpenCV is used to capture two sets of video streams for the left and right eye. It further recognizes markers and computes their relative position compared to the cameras. Virtual objects that have been visualized using COVISE can then be displayed on top of the video image at the correct position relative to the marker and with the correct perspective.