Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and CITRIS to Develop New Approaches in the Visualization Field

First-of-a Kind Collaboration to Improve Visualization Technologies for Vital Application Areas

(Pictured above: Prof. Hans-Joachim Grallert, Executive Director of Fraunhofer HHI and Paul Wright, Director of CITRIS)

CITRIS and Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) signed an MOU on May 26, 2011 for a new collaboration that combines the cutting-edge technologies from Fraunhofer HHI and the application experiences from CITRIS. This collaboration is aimed at developing new solutions to help users better deal with the huge amount of data now being generated with increasing complexity.

By joining forces, Fraunhofer HHI and CITRIS will provide novel approaches covering the whole value chain— from data acquisition, transmission, and processing, through analysis and display. Using developments in these specific fields will improve the understanding of the heuristic value of image and video data.

The short-term objectives of the collaboration are to involve industries in joint projects that will lead to beneficial results. 

“As the volume of data, images and videos continue to grow, the abilities to deal with that have to grow in parallel. We have to address these problems proactively,” said Paul Wright, Director of CITRIS.

One such focus is on specific fields of application. Scientists are contributing skills in the immersive media field for content creation and processing. Hence, the setup of multi-view video systems, calibration and capture will play a major role. Examples here include the OmniCam, the Immersive 3D Videoconferencing, and Auto-Calibration. Furthermore, real-time 2D video analysis, depth-estimation in real-time for stereoscopic or multi-view applications as well as 3D multi-view generation will be important. Finally, a comprehensive set of image-based-rendering, virtual scene composition and 3D rendering techniques are available in order to present immersive content on different kinds of displays.

Another focus of the new collaboration is in health care. Developments here include:
•    Autostereoscopic 3D displays for surgery, diagnostics and education
•    Radio sensonetworks (direct capturing of patient´s vital body functions
•    THz scanner (image based diagnostics)
•    EDP-assisted comparison analysis of disease patterns
•    Loss-free video compression
•    Touch-free control of systems and devices 

Prof. Hans-Joachim Grallert, Executive Director of Fraunhofer HHI noted: “These are all approaches that contribute to new features of health care that are ultimately better, faster and less costly.”

Fraunhofer HHI and CITRIS aim at establishing a substantial academic cooperation in this area focused on the strategic coordination of relevant research activities, including joint proposals to United States of America, European Union and German funding agencies and to industry, as well as scientific meetings and other events aiming at the communication and dissemination of research results.

A first project of the collaboration was the joint conference “From Data Collection to Display – how Visualization transforms Industries”, held on May 26, 2011 on the UC Berkeley campus. Telecommunication technologies are today driving dramatic and significant change across a range of industries. This conference brought together more than 100 top-level industry executives and researchers in a forum aimed at setting the agenda for the future of this exciting space. 

“This event demonstrated that we are fitting bodies that create additional benefit for potential partners. We do invite all to provide and share new ideas with us to get challenging projects realized,” said Michael Witte, Head Strategic Marketing, Fraunhofer HHI. 

The persons initially in charge of the program to be developed:
CITRIS:  Paul Wright    
Fraunhofer HHI: Michael Witte 

About Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute in Berlin
The Institute was founded in 1928 and is engaged as a pioneer in the field of optical telecommunications. Fraunhofer HHI is part of the Fraunhofer Association, which has 18,000 employees and a turnover of USD $2.5B. The HHI covers the whole value chain from generating signals by multi-sensor systems via processing signals (hard- and software oriented), distributing it by NG Networks to displaying signals on immersive screen solutions. Core competencies are:
• Electronic Imaging • Communication Networks • Interactive Media (3-D, New HMI) • Photonic Components and Sensors.  The HHI is seen as a know-how leader in multimedia key-applications; it was recently awarded with two EMMYs  (esp. for the contributions in the field of video compressing, i.e. H.264/AVC).  

The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) creates information technology solutions for many of our most pressing social, environmental, and health care problems. CITRIS was created to “shorten the pipeline” between world-class laboratory research and the creation of start-ups, larger companies, and whole industries. CITRIS facilitates partnerships and collaborations among more than 300 faculty members and thousands of students from numerous departments at four University of California campuses (Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz) with industrial researchers from over 60 corporations. Together the groups are thinking about information technology in ways its never been thought of before.