19. January 2024

Insight into the lab of the future

Two internship students developed an interactive AR application for laboratories at the HSZG.

Last November, we welcomed two Mexican mechatronics students from the University Tecnológico de Monterrey, Juan González Morales and Jorge Valle García, to Zittau/Görlitz University of Applied Sciences. As part of the "Mechatronic Project Work" module, they took on an internship project here. The topic was as exciting as it was challenging: With the help of an augmented reality (AR) system, an interactive and immersive experience was to be created for students and guests in the laboratory environment. Juan and Jorge were supervised and professionally supported by Mr. Fabian Lindner from the Faculty of Economics and Industrial Engineering.

The thermal hydraulics laboratory of the Institute of Process Engineering, Process Automation and Measuring Technology (IPM) was soon found as the "test object", with the main focus of interest being the large-scale experimental plant "Zittau Flow Tray" (Zittauer Strömungswanne, ZSW) located there. Juan and Jorge paid many visits to this laboratory, had lively contact with the laboratory manager, Mr. Frank Zacharias, and were able to take a look at technical reports, experimentally recorded measurement data and technical documentation. Together, they compiled the information that would be relevant and of general interest for a virtual tour of the laboratory.

Once the 3D scan of the thermohydraulics laboratory had been completed, they both had access to a virtual 3D model of the laboratory and the ZSW. Anchor points could be placed in this model, which in turn could be linked to information in text form, photos or videos.

The interactive tour of the thermohydraulics laboratory could be experienced using the AR headset.

The AR application was implemented in the programming language C# and Unity, a runtime and development environment that enables the creation and execution of interactive real-time 3D content. Even in the early stages of development, both students recognized the need to correctly link the virtual and real environments: The positions of the lab visitor had to be identical in both the real and virtual 3D environments. However, a practicable solution was soon found.

Juan and Jorge were finally able to present the results of their work to a very interested audience on January 15. The whole thing was demonstrated in practice on site in the thermohydraulics laboratory: Equipped with an AR headset, visitors were able to take a tour of the 3D model of the laboratory and interactively call up technical data on all components of the Zittau Flow Tray. This live demonstration, which all attendees were able to try out for themselves, was impressive and generated a lot of enthusiasm.

The virtual lab tour could be followed from the visitor's perspective on a computer.

We would like to thank Juan and Jorge for this great work, which will be further developed at the HSZG in the future and will soon find many practical applications.

Contact person

Foto: M.Sc. Fabian Lindner
Fabian Lindner
Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften und Wirtschaftsingenieurwesen
02763 Zittau
Schliebenstr. 21
Building Z II, Room 002
+49 3583 612-4486

Laboratory manager of the IPM thermal hydraulics laboratory

Frank Zacharias
Institut für Prozesstechnik, Prozessautomatisierung und Messtechnik
02763 Zittau
Lausitzer Weg 2
Building Z VIIc, Room 02
+49 3583 612-4935