Fraunhofer Researchers to Demonstrate Sophisticated 3D Measurement and Sensor Technology at Hannover Messe 2019

The workplace will see machines and humans increasingly supporting one another. Processes can become efficient only when the machine responds to human workers without any time delay.

3D sensor technology: two high-speed cameras and a gobo projector capture the 3D data of the moving person. (Image credit: Fraunhofer IOF)

Now, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF are making such real-time interactions feasible, thanks to an advanced, high-speed 3D measurement and sensor technology.

At the Hannover Messe trade show, which will be held from April 1st to 5th, 2019, the researchers will demonstrate how this novel technology works in practice at Hall 2, Booth C22. The team will use the case of an interactive wall of spheres that reacts instantly, in a contact-free way, and in three dimensions (3D) to each movement of a person standing in front of it.

Since gesture control signifies a smooth interface between machines and humans, an increasing number of devices, robots, and machines have the potential to react to gestural cues. At Fraunhofer IOF in Jena, researchers are taking the interaction between humans and machines to a whole new level—the sophisticated high-speed 3D measurement and sensor technology created in the 3D-LivingLab research project allows them to record and understand even intricate movements of a person—and it does so in real time.

The researchers are demonstrating their advanced gesture-based human-machine interaction technology at Hannover Messe 2019, by utilizing the case of a wall containing 150 spheres, which copies in 3D every hand, head, and arm movement of a person standing before it.

The wall of spheres effectively mimics the movements of the body with contact-free, real-time 3D reactions, free from annoying time lags. The researchers created the wall of spheres as part of the “3D-LivingLab” project.

Workflows are greatly simplified

The system contains a number of modules, such as 3D data processing and image fusion, 3D sensor, and even the actuator system itself containing 150 separate actuators.

The wall of spheres is not only a great toy, it also represents cutting-edge technology. Real-time 3D capture and interpretation of multiple gestures without tracking sensors can radically simplify workflows—from production scenarios to health and safety.

Dr Peter Kühmstedt, Group Leader and Scientist, Fraunhofer IOF.

The unique demonstrator system is able to respond to people’s behavior, capturing intricate movements like physical actions and gestures and providing real-time feedback via a technical actuator system that transforms electrical signals into movements on the wall of spheres. The actuators are controlled by the posture of the person. Dedicated algorithms allow human 3D movements to activate the control of actuators, thereby making the spheres to move.

We are demonstrating very rapid measurement technology—the data is captured by a new generation of 3D sensors—, very rapid low-latency processing—the data is interpreted and converted immediately—and very rapid reactions in real time. According to the calculation results, the wall of spheres immediately mirrors the movement of the person in front of it.

Dr Peter Kühmstedt, Group Leader and Scientist, Fraunhofer IOF.

For instance, in production settings, the technology can possibly be used for tracking a worker who is communicating with a robot and handing it parts. The technology could even be transferred to other fields of applications, like health and safety, where it can render processes not only safer but also and more efficient. Both the 3D sensor technology and the interaction components can even be used in other potential applications, such as quality control systems and in assembly assistance. In addition, they can also be used to monitor biometric access points.

The research team will present its high-speed 3D technology, which enables a synergy between machines and humans, at the Hannover Messe. The technology will be on display at the Fraunhofer booth (Hall 2, Booth C22) from April 1st to 5th, 2019.

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