Virtual or augmented reality have long since ceased being technical terms used only by engineers or computer gamers. Virtual reality (VR) refers to the apparent immersion of the viewer into virtual 3D environments created on the computer. These environments may be viewed on a normal screen or with specially designed glasses.
They enable engineers, for example, to model and improve their prototypes. VR applications are also very useful for presentations and for training purposes. The automotive industry as well as DB are already allowing their customers to experience details of new vehicles by means of “smart glasses”. In a further field of application, manual workers can learn how to operate new machinery even before the actual machinery is available on site.
With augmented reality (AR), in contrast to VR, actual images of the environment are enhanced with additional information. This is done with the aid of a smartphone or tablet, or using smart glasses such as Google Glass or Microsoft’s Hololens. These display information within the user’s field of vision.
Navigating with augmented and virtual reality
As a digital pioneer, DB Systel has already implemented several VR and AR projects. One such possible application is navigation. By means of augmented reality, users can easily orient themselves spatially. The path to the target is superimposed on the environment in the display, enabling users to navigate their way intuitively.
For users with restricted mobility, however, the ability to plan a journey from their desktop PC at home can be extremely important. Using virtual reality with the aid of an application, they are able, either with or without 3D glasses, to find their way around the main station in Berlin before they even start their journey (app and instructions in german only). This makes it easier for them to find a connecting train, a shop or restaurant, and to find the right exit.
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Nonetheless, you would like to find out the potential of virtual und augmented reality? Let us know. Please use the contact form. We will get in touch with you and make an individual consulting appointment!
3D glasses for DB employees
And the best thing is: the VR view does not even require special expensive glasses. Using a standard smartphone, a little handicraft and a cardboard box, anyone can now experience virtual reality. Those who did not have the opportunity to explore Berlin main station at the Global Group Meeting in Berlin, can download the appropriate app themselves (App and instructions in German only). The special 3D glasses required can be ordered from DB Systel by anyone interested – as long as stocks last.
How to take part:
- Please subscribe to our Newsletter. If you are already subscribed, go to step 2.
- Send us an e-mail with the subject “3D glasses kit” and include your DB company e-mail address.
Rules for participation:
- For employees of the DB Group only (employees of DB Systel are not eligible).
- Your e-mail must reference your organisational unit and your business address.
- Closing date for entries is 30 November 2016.
- Subject to availability. Legal action is excluded.
Spatial depth instead of just a 360-degree view
“Three-dimensional visualisation provides more than just a plan view like a street map,” explains Stephan Wrede, who is responsible for WorldInsight at DB Systel. This is an in-house development that presents virtual worlds. “There is not just a 360-degree panoramic view, but also an impression of spatial depth.” Using the 3D models, users can “look behind things”, says Wrede – from any point within the model.
Visualisation also helps when planning new rail routes or noise barriers. It is thus possible to show exactly how a noise barrier will look on site and whether its height would impair the field of vision. “On two-dimensional plans, only an expert would be able to recognise something like this.” This enables typical planning errors to be avoided at an early stage. With the aid of WorldInsight, the entire rail network can also be visualised in 3D, making use of existing databases and libraries.
Video: Virtual tour through Berlin Main Station – with insights just as on-site.
© Deutsche Bahn AG
Whole city districts in 3D
“We have already implemented numerous large and smaller-scale projects, such as Stuttgart 21, parts of the new Karlsruhe –Basel route, refurbishment of Hamburg-Altona station and about 50 others,” says Wrede. “WorldInsight is an excellent way of visualising complex subject matter,” he explains. “For example, large areas such as complete city districts or routes of at least 100 km can be copied into realistic and almost distortion-free 3D models.”
The trend is clear: in an increasingly complex world, it is easy to become disoriented. With WorldInsight and its associated developments, DB Systel is ensuring greater clarity – even in three dimensions.
Colleagues Claus-Peter Gabriel and Jonas vor dem Berge, who are developing projects and implementing prototypes by sharing their ideas in the Skydeck, are helping to ensure better orientation. As sponsors of this technology, they are the contact persons for matters of virtual and augmented reality. In this function they advise customers on possible fields of application for this technology and construct the initial prototypes.