Tracking in Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer generated world in which the user can perform tasks using real world movements and actions. The user sees a stereo image and is able to judge distances and proportions. He can also use his hands to manipulate virtual objects. For a realistic interaction with the virtual content, tracking technology is necessary.

Virtual Reality (VR) is one of the major applications for ART tracking systems. ART delivers a flexible tracking system with the following characteristics:

  • High precision to calculate the exact viewpoint and the location of interaction devices
  • Low noise leading to a stable virtual image and interaction devices
  • Low latency for instant movements in VR and reduced simulator sickness

ART has developed several devices especially designed for use in VR:

The following examples are a selection of VR applications supported by ART technology.

“After trying out tracking systems from different vendors we are now using ART Tracking systems for all of our virtual reality environments ranging from SMARTTRACKs and ARTTRACK2 cameras for our mobile VR Wall to TRACKPACKs for our tiled display and CAVE. We chose ART tracking systems because of their reliability, accuracy and ease of calibration."

Uwe Wössner, Head of Vizualisation department at the HLRS, University of Stuttgart

Digital Prototypes

In the industrial development process, physical prototypes are increasingly replaced by digital prototypes. To ensure robust decision-making, these prototypes are rendered realistically through the use of head tracking. This allows the user to move around the virtual prototype and to choose his viewpoint. These immersive presentations are performed using Powerwalls or CAVEs.

Especially in the automotive industry, the ergonomics of the future customers are the focus. To test the design of the car in early development phases, where no physical cars are available, the digital data is presented to the user using Head Mounted Displays or in a CAVE. The user gets an impression of spaciousness and uses fingertracking for reachability validations.

„Volkswagen was one of the first customers of ART. Since 1999 Volkswagen and ART have a very good, intensive and trustful partnership. Several research and development projects base on this partnership. Due to the technically mature products and excellent service ART is the standard within the Volkswagen group when it comes to tracking.”

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Werner Schreiber,
Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft

© VW AG: ART Fingertracking at Volkswagen VR labs
© PSA: Barco Simulation, Software: Virtools

Assembly Simulations

The manufacturing process is very cost-conscious. Therefore it is essential to test the assembly in early design phases in order to change the product to achieve an easy assembly. These simulations are usually performed in CAVEs or in front of Powerwalls using head tracking and Flysticks or Fingertracking devices.

Data Visualisation

© University of Potsdam: 3-sided Cave for visualization of geoscientific data

Large datasets are very hard to interpret and to understand for non experts. These datasets occur in numerical simulations like CFD or FEM and in the oil and gas industry to explore the sonic datasets of soils. Virtual Reality can be used to efficiently understand, discuss or present these results. In these applications an ART tracking system can be used for head tracking, using a Flystick for navigation.

The ART systems work with most VR software, either directly supported or using one of the standard interfaces for tracking. The ART tracking systems are also compatible with most available codes for VR data analysis.