Visual Computing Report

From the Word Go

Dear friends and partners,

In the years ahead, we will presumably face a wider variety of challenges and problems than virtually any other generation before us. Now more than ever, science and research are playing important roles. Experts are laboring to identify trends and develop solutions. The fact that Fraunhofer IGD’s visual computing competencies address the interface between innovation and practical applications makes our work particularly multifaceted and relevant. Largely because we are aligning ourselves with and intensively promoting different industries, collaborating across departments, and intensively promoting projects, we’ve achieved a dynamic process that paves the way from technical innovations to successful products.

A good example of this is the new bioeconomics and infrastructure research department, which we inaugurated at Fraunhofer IGD’s facility in Rostock on the Baltic coast last year. It is focusing on sustainably developing agriculture further with the goal of reducing both resource use and emissions. We want to provide farms, companies, and public institutions with effective digital methods for systematically increasing the value that agriculture generates. We’re also working on tools for enabling agricultural operations to manage the effects of climate change better. This concerns both crop and humane livestock farming, as well as marine breeding and the use of moorlands for forestry. To help master current challenges in crop and grassland management, we’re also developing digital technologies for AI-supported near- and remote-sensing.

Our other current research focuses also continue to have broad-ranging potential for sparking innovations, especially for the automotive industry, software and IT, healthcare, the maritime economy, and the cultural and creative economy. Here, too, we want to continue expanding the scope of our activities, as well as our research in the realms of quantum computing and the metaverse. Additional spin-offs are also being planned.

In the year ahead, the number of our tasks and projects will therefore be on the same level as our efforts to make new knowledge usable. We have a lot of work ahead of us. And what could be as motivating to researchers like us as keeping our fingers on the pulse of important technological developments and helping to meaningfully shape them?

Our Expertise: Visual Computing

Our competencies and technologies are organized into four groups covering all areas of expertise relevant to visual computing applications. Our expert, cross-functional teams support clients in business and government with flexible software solutions that address six core industries.

Service areas

Problem Analysis

We analyze existing processes and business systems by systematically combing, aggregating, merging, and linking available data and data sources to identify opportunities for improvement.

Optimal data management and efficient data storage and processing are important prerequisites for extracting meaningful insights from data sets by applying a combination of automated analytical methods and visualization.

Big data, machine learning, and AI methods enable clients to gain deep insights into the patterns and interconnections present in their heterogeneous data sets.

Designing software and hardware systems

Based on a detailed analysis of requirements, we take a user-centered, agile, iterative approach for designing software and hardware systems that are tailored to each client’s unique needs for visualizing complex data.

After identifying appropriate technical components and methods, these are applied to define targets for new systems and present suggestions for improving existing ones.

Our goals are optimal usability, user-centered design (HCI, UI), efficiency, and novel functionalities. We ensure them for our clients by applying appropriate industry standard software design methodologies, development environments, and testing methods.

Prototype development

The outcome of our work doesn’t have to be limited to a concept paper. It can also include developing a robust prototype with sufficient scope to allow testing of all required attributes.

Prototyping is performed iteratively while intensively sharing information with the client, in order to quickly and efficiently coordinate major design decisions and consistently steer developments toward the goals in each case.

We rapidly construct prototypes for testing and validation to determine feasibility and benefits, contribute to minimizing risks, and make decisions on actual implementation.

Implementation of visually interactive systems

A customized solution and/or prototypes are developed into an operational, ready-to-use system with replicable software and hardware.

Across the steps of hardware/software integration, testing, and rollout, these solutions are implemented in such a way that they can be optimally integrated into the client’s existing system environment.

In addition to support during the introduction phase, software solutions are also available to purchase or license. They also include ongoing support.

DIN EN ISO-certified software development processes are also available on request.

Our core competencies

Fraunhofer IGD is your partner for applied visual computing. We bundle our broad technological and scientific expertise into 15 core competencies.


Throughout the automotive industry, we develop next-generation visual interactive solutions for all phases of the automotive product life cycle: from the drafting process and design reviews across technical simulations all the way to quality monitoring during production. In this way, we work with you to create future mobility solutions. The automotive industry is undergoing an upheaval. Electromobility, autonomous driving, and many other trends are upending established ways of thinking in the market and pointing the way to a new future.


Further information

Environmental Balance Sheets for Aviation, Visible at a Click

The EU-promoted CleanSky 2 project focuses on helping the aviation industry develop, test, and demonstrate materials and systems with reduced carbon footprints. Fraunhofer IGD is carrying out a subproject to chart the environmental impacts of various technologies. The results are collated in an eco-hybrid platform that lets users intuitively and interactively compare results at a glance.


Preventing Traffic Jams in Smart Cities

Smoothly flowing traffic isn’t just balm for everyone’s nerves – it also increases safety. Fraunhofer IGD is carrying out a software campus project dubbed BENEFIT to develop an AI-based solution for analyzing traffic and – in a second step – optimizing it by rerouting vehicle flows. The vision for the future is for cars, cyclists, and pedestrians to be automatically recognized and tracked by multiple cameras in order to prevent traffic jams. The technology, which is now taking shape in cooperation with a car manufacturer, relies on anonymous features instead of faces or license plate numbers.

Yes to local public transportation!

Fraunhofer Austria cares about public transportation. It’s coordinating a project called “Övvvi” in which various institutions are investigating ways to make it more attractive for people to take buses and trains by capturing, analyzing, and clearly presenting structured mobility data. The approach involves automatically capturing passenger flows in compliance with data protection laws; the compiled data will then be used to create a functioning mobility data space.


We support companies of the healthcare industry with our services. Going forward we will personalize medicine by developing and evaluating digital solutions for improving individual patients’ health while protecting them and their data, securing diagnoses, and systematically documenting all information. Our applications support preventive healthcare at home and at work, as well as diagnostics and therapy at physicians’ practices, in hospitals and clinics, and in connection with nursing and rehabilitation.


Further information


Better understanding lung diseases

The LUSCOV (Lung Sonography for Covid-19) project is investigating the course of Covid-19 and other lung diseases with the goal of spotting and analyzing changes in the pleura to gain a better understanding of how they progress. Software tools are being used to ease the workload of clinic personnel by automatically evaluating ultrasound images.


3D-Printed Eye Replacements

In the “Click-2-Print Artificial Eyes” project, promoted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the scope of a program targeting small and midsized enterprises, we developed software for printing prosthetic eyes with the aid of the “Cuttlefish” 3D printer driver. These innovative ocular protheses have been approved as medical products in the United Kingdom, where they are already being sold. The next step is to introduce them on a large scale across the European and U.S. markets.


Healthcare of the Future

A major Fraunhofer project, dubbed MED²ICIN, has designed a digital patient model that helps physicians choose the best therapies and reduce both treatment times and costs. This solution collates patient data captured at different times and places into a digital image to support decision-making, personalized patient diagnoses, and the correct choice of therapies. The model also contributes to reducing healthcare expenditures, which is urgently needed in view of demographic trends and the resulting severe shortage of qualified personnel. MED²ICIN was developed and evaluated in collaboration with the clinic of Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. This line of research is currently being extended to other European countries with the goal of integrating the digital patient model in commercially used systems to support everyday medical practice.

Information Technology

In the context of software and IT industries, we focus on companies that make, integrate, and/or use software. We help them develop data-intensive applications for everything from data management all the way to visual user interfaces and interactive solutions.


Further information


Edge AI: Innovative applications possible


The dAIEDGE Network of Excellence (NoE), promoted by the EU, is supporting the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and edge computing platforms. A combination of edge computing and AI enables devices to make decisions in milliseconds by locally processing data. This in turn paves the way for new applications in the areas of autonomous driving, personalized digital assistance, and intelligent service robots. As a member of the project consortium, Fraunhofer IGD is leading the development of pilot applications for smart cities and autonomous robots. The network is collaborating closely with other European AI initiatives and has a project funding volume of 14.4 million euros.




Network Analysis Simplified

NetCapVis, an add-on for the Wireshark open-source packet analyzer tool, simplifies analysis of network data and supports security staff in dealing with network failures and data misuse in organizations that lack their own IT departments. Filter options and a timeline facilitate sorting of information by IP addresses and data formats. The use of artificial intelligence enables NetCapVis to determine which application is causing a particular problem. This software closes the gap between complex fee-based solutions and tools that are available for free but difficult to use.


Synthetic Faces: Discrimination-Free AI

Going forward, AI-based facial recognition software will be trained on generated fictitious facial images. This is necessary because data privacy concerns make it unacceptable to use publicly accessible photograph databases for this purpose. There is also a risk that systems trained on real faces could result in discrimination, since facial recognition algorithms don’t work equally well for all skin colors and genders. The Fraunhofer solution avoids these problems by generating synthetic training data for facial recognition systems.

Maritime Economy

We develop smart applications and systems for companies of the blue (maritime) economy and their suppliers. Our focuses are offshore energy, shipbuilding and ship operation, aquaculture, and protecting the marine environment.

Thanks to our maritime digitalization competence, we’re able to offer companies considerable benefits in terms of efficiency and quality in global markets. We help them achieve their maritime sustainability targets while complying with legal requirements and taking advantage of opportunities to adopt new business models. Our joint projects also help them protect and sustainably use the Earth’s seas within the scope of their value chains.


Further information

Environmental Protection in Deep Sea Mining

A project called DeepSeaProtection is developing a multisensory monitoring system to help safeguard the environment in connection with deep sea mining activities. It is based on multifunctional ground stations that are positioned around the project area and use special “yo-yo probes” to scan the water column, exchange acoustic data, and serve as nodes for reliable underwater communication and navigation of mobile deep-sea devices such as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). The stars of this show are bionic AUVs, which emerge from docking stations on crawlers and serve as an operative deep sea task force to perform a wide range of 3D monitoring tasks.

Safety in European Shipping

It’s vital to avert risks in maritime traffic. This involves not only ensuring that freight and passengers are safely and securely carried in and out of EU ports and harbors but also protecting important maritime facilities along coastlines and rivers. It’s also vital to adequately protect ships and maritime infrastructure, as well as the entire marine ecosystem, from the consequences of possible illegal acts and activities by promoting underwater safety. The UnderSec project, which is coordinated by Fraunhofer EMFT, was officially launched on October 1, 2023.

Immersive Training Environment for Offshore Safety Training

We’re using VR technologies to improve training for dealing with high risks and emergency situations in connection with offshore windfarms and platforms. They enable participants to safely practice the cognitive and motor skills required to deal with stressful situations. The benefits and limitations of this combination of virtual technologies and real training scenarios are being studied in a safe environment within the scope of a project called “Next Reality,” which is also shedding light on psychophysical, ethical, and legal issues as well as the acceptance of new training methods.

Bioeconomics and Infrastructure

We support companies and public institutions in designing infrastructure that is more technologically advanced, more socially inclusive, and greener. Our solutions address all aspects of urban communities. We leverage our core competencies in visual computing to provide technical tools and methods that will enable us to master global challenges such as climate change, health risks, ensuring a sustainable energy supply, and developing land and space without harming the environment.


Further information


Sensor-Based Identification of Plant Species on Grassland

We’re working on ways to digitally identify plant species on grasslands. This involves deploying drones equipped with a variety of cameras and sensors to capture high-resolution spacial and temporal data in the visible light and infrared spectra. Machine learning can then be applied to analyze this data and identify the plant population, the areas covered with each species, and the positions of individual plants of a given species, among other things. This approach is essential for practicing and optimizing precision farming on meadows and pastureland. Most importantly, this approach makes it possible to quantify and harness an area’s biodiversity. Going forward, there are also plans to certify the application and apply for state subsidies.


An App for Growth Parameters in Agriculture

Crop farmers monitor parameters such as plant heights, biomass, and especially yields – and often still do it by hand. Other options are now available, however, including the use of multispectral and LiDAR data to estimate crop biomass and yields. We are therefore working to determine the extent to which this data is suitable for tracking yields of rye and triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye).  


Image-Based Detection of Lameness

Lameness is one of the most frequently encountered symptoms suffered by dairy cows. In addition to serving as an indicator of disease and injury, it’s associated with reduced milk production. With current technology, identifying lameness requires special skills and is time-consuming, which is why we are pursuing the goal of using computer vision methods to automatically diagnose it. The goal is for the system to detect lameness as early as possible in order to minimize pain and resulting declines in performance.

Cultural and Creative Economy

The most realistic-looking 3D models have the widest range of uses. Our broad spectrum of 3D technologies helps you achieve a unique level of accuracy, all the way down to the tiniest details. Thanks to our established 3D printing and scanning technologies, we’re able to offer not only high-precision, single-unit production but also rapid, cost-effective approaches for large series. From capture across visualization to reproduction, we’re expert at precisely capturing and reproducing geometries.


Further information

Dinosaurs and More in 3D

With more than 30 million exhibits, the Natural History Museum in Berlin is not only one of Germany’s largest but also ranks among the world’s 10 foremost collections of this type. Our 3D digitalization robot, called CultArm3D FT10, is now supporting a major digitalization project there. Its fully automated scanning arm works in tandem with a rotary plate on the floor that is able to hold, measure, and scan objects weighing up to 1,000 kg.

Virtual Diving for Shipwrecks

In November 2023, the Rostock Shipbuilding and Shipping Museum inaugurated a special exhibit called WRECKS. Among other things, visitors can don a virtual-reality headset and descend into a submerged shipwreck, examine it up close, and see how the ship once looked. Created within the scope of a visualization project for which Fraunhofer IGD was contracted by the Gesellschaft für Schiffsarchäologie e.V. (Society for Ship Archeology), it opens up new perspectives for naval architecture buffs.


Use of AI to Reconstruct Colors of Ancient Artworks

The EU-funded PERCEIVE project is developing a new way of interpreting, exhibiting, and studying old works of art. In the role of scientific-technical coordinator, we are working to create an AI-based application that takes only seconds to depict how an artwork’s colors would look in different lighting conditions. It will work its magic on all types of art, including textiles, oil paintings, and stone statues. With data from just a few photographs sufficient to accomplish this feat,  the AI will predict how the artwork will look after 50 or a hundred years. This in turn will make it possible to predict when steps will be required to counteract progressive paling of the colors. These exclusively Web-based tools will benefit not only art experts but also museums by enabling them to virtually present items or digitally enhance them on-site with the aid of augmented reality.

Scientific Excellence

Curiosity is what drives us! We work day in and day out to devise new solutions for improveing our existing applications, integrateing them at clients, and implementing entirely new ideas. Our success is based on sound scientific training and constant sharing and collaboration with university research departments across Germany. The many articles published by Fraunhofer IGD scientists each year document our institution’s outstanding research record. An independent jury of non-Fraunhofer scientists bestows awards for outstanding publications at an annual event called Computer Graphics Night. We have assembled a small selection of examples on this page.


Research Coach

We’re one of a small number of Fraunhofer institutes that have their own research coach for supporting young scientists. Our coach also provides career support and guidance and answer employees’ questions on publication.


Scientific Networking

Fraunhofer IGD collaborates closely with other research institutions and universities to implement a variety of initiatives and projects. Examples include ATHENE (the German National Research Center for Applied Cybersecurity), the Center for Applied Quantum Computing (ZAQC), and the Rostock Ocean Technology Campus.

Practical experience for students

We constantly offer internships and jobs for students. Many of those who get a taste of what it's like to work for us in this way later find their way back to us as academic staff.

Academic Teaching

Staff of Fraunhofer IGD hold no fewer than five professorships at the Technical University of Darmstadt and the University of Rostock and give a total of around 30 different lectures each year.

Dissertations at Fraunhofer

We supervise bachelor’s and master’s dissertations in all of our departments, around 50 in 2022 alone across our sites.


The numerous publications that Fraunhofer IGD scientists have once again published in 2023 are proof of our institute's excellent research performance.

Best Paper Award

Every year, an independent jury of external scientists awards prizes for the best publications at the Computer Graphics Night.

Our Spin-offs

The Fraunhofer Society’s mission is to introduce technological innovations to the economy while acquainting the public with them. Spin-offs play a key role in catalyzing the spread of innovations as important and highly effective links between research and the economy. Without an effective way of channeling research findings to companies, many achievements would never happen. The ingredients for a successful spin-off are a pioneering spirit and business-oriented thinking, coupled with scientific excellence. For years, Fraunhofer IGD has ranked among the institutes of the Fraunhofer Society that generate the most spin-offs by instilling a pioneering spirit and passion for top-notch technology.

Top-Quality Autonomous 3D Scans

Since August 2023, the company Verus.Digital GmbH has been selling various versions of  "CultArm3D", a fully automatic scanning arm developed by Fraunhofer IGD.

The technology, which has won multiple German and European awards, is the world’s very first autonomous true-color digitalization system that ensures consistently high quality at predefined target resolutions. The scanning arm has already proven itself in practice at major museums and institutions as an invaluable aid for digitalizing entire collections. Customers can assemble the ideal system for their needs from various configurable versions and modules. The package includes ongoing support from the founding team and advice on the best ways to implement a given digitalization project. For institutions with less extensive requirements, Verus.Digital GmbH also offers 3D digitalization services covering both high-resolution models and more compact formats such as three-dimensional models for online presentation, videos, or 3D printing.

Overview of all our spin-offs