PolyVR is a virtual reality 3D engine with main focus is the scalability of hardware setups and scene authoring and management.

PolyVR - Virtual Reality Engine

PolyVR: A Shortcut to Virtual Reality


PolyVR is a virtual reality 3D engine. Its main focus is the scalability of hardware setups and scene authoring and management. PolyVR is developed at the Institute for Information Management in Engineering (IMI) since 2009. We develop our own virtual reality solution to support our High-End-Visualization center LESC at KIT. The modular architecture of PolyVR facilitates the extension with new features. The engine grows with every research project. We also employ it in teaching.
PolyVR is based on open-source libraries like OpenSG and OpenGL. OpenSG is the backbone of our solution and features a scene graph management with the focus on clustering and threading. OpenSG also provides a lot of utility functions to enhance the 3D scene.
The clustering capabilities of OpenSG allow the flexible software configuration of different hardware systems for distributed visualization on computer clusters. PolyVR can thus be deployed on visualization clusters for CAVE environments as well as on desktop, HMDs or 3D televisions. This is especially attractive for SME oriented applications.
The flexible integration of tracking systems and devices is possible over libraries like ARTTMDTrack or the open peripheral library VRPN. We use ART to get tracking data in our CAVE environment. The ART Flystick allows very precise interaction in 3D. The VRPN protocol allows us to communicate the tracking data we extract from raw Kinect input. Our work with Kinect is on-going. Our goal is the full body tracking with a higher accuracy than with the available SDKs. It is also possible to use a HTTP socket to easy configure communication with mobile devices or tools and simulations somewhere on the network.



PolyVR is open-source under GPLv3 Licence and can be downloaded from GitHub  .



The PolyVR documentation is emeded in the framework. Additionally you can find information about features, installation and other in GitHub Wiki   After the PolyVR installation you have access to a big number of example applications as well as help tool. 


Operating System: 

PolyVR is developed and tested unter Linux OS Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04. Windows port is comming soon. For more information please contact us.



Service and Support: 

IMI offers following services based to the PolyVR virtual reality authorig system.

  • Consulting for the topics on Virtual Reality: Hardware, Software, Applications and Interfaces
  • Installation
  • Hardware-Configuration
  • Customizing - special modifications, adjustments of features and many more
  • Core Development - Development of new modules and features
  • Training  
  • Support

If you have questions about our services? Here our contacts!


Data Import:

PolyVR uses an optimized importer for VRML files exported from the CAD tool SolidWorks, which loads the files much faster. 



Animations over glTF

3D-Scans/Point Clouds

E57, XYZ










Current Users: 

  • Center for Artificial Intelligence Talents (CAIT) am IMI, KIT, Karlsruhe
  • House of Living Labs, Forschungszentrum Informatik (FZI), Karlsruhe  
  • Virtual Engineering Center, TU-Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality Lab at Sofia Tech Park, Sofia, Bulgaria 
  • Institute of Materials and Processes (IMP), University of Applied Sciences, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Faculty for Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics (MMT), University of Applied Sciences, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Formula Student KA-RaceIng e.V., Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Daimler AG
  • Schenck RoTec GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany
  • Siemens AG
  • EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG
  • NetzeBW GmbH
  • Gabler Engineering GmbH

Application in Education courses:



Application in Research Projects at IMI: 


  • DriveSim - Virtual Reality Driving Simulator für Training in Driving Schools in China
  • dimenSion - Multidimensional Service Prototyping
  • SkillPro - Skill-based Propagation of "Plug&Produce"-Devices in Reconfigurable Production Systems by AML
  • 3DConFu - 3D Raumrekonstruktion und intelligente Möbelkonfiguration
  • SimViDekont - Construction of a simulation model for the qualification of the new vibration method for decontamination of pipelines
  • DRIVE - Mixed Reality Driving Simulator
  • EMOVR - Study on Emotional Customer Feedback in Virtual Reality
  • KOBIMU - Study on the Impact of Motion in Virtual Environments on Memorization Performance


You can watch project results based on PolyVR on our IMI_KIT YouTube Channel 



  • Häfner, Victor. "PolyVR - a virtual reality authoring framework for engineering applications". Dissertation, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), 2019, https://dx.doi.org/10.5445/IR/1000098349
  • Häfner, Victor, Anne-Christine Benedix, Michael Grethler, and Manuela Kögel. "Holistische Planung einer Fertigung im Neubau." Zeitschrift für wirtschaftlichen Fabrikbetrieb 116, no. 3 (2021): 106-110
  • Häfner, Polina. "Holistic approach for authoring immersive and smart environments for the integration in engineering education". Dissertation, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), 2021 
  • Häfner, Victor, Anne-Christine Benedix, and Polina Häfner. "Automatisierung des Virtualisierungsprozesses im Anlagenbau." Zeitschrift für wirtschaftlichen Fabrikbetrieb 115.3 (2020): 148-152.
  • Haefner, Victor. "PolyVR-A Virtual Reality Authoring System." In Proceedings of the 20th Eurographics Symposium on Virtual Environments (2014), Eurographics Association.
  • Haefner, Polina, et al. "Interactive Visualization of Energy Efficiency Concepts Using Virtual Reality." In Proceedings of the 20th Eurographics Symposium on Virtual Environments (2014), Eurographics Association.
  • Ovtcharova, Jivka, et al. "Innovation braucht Resourceful Humans Aufbruch in eine neue Arbeitskultur durch Virtual Engineering." Zukunft der Arbeit in Industrie 4.0. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2015. 111-124.
  • Katicic, Jurica, Polina Häfner, and Jivka Ovtcharova. "Methodology for emotional assessment of product design by customers in virtual reality."PRESENCE: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 24.1 (2015): 62-73.
  • Katicic, Jurica, Polina Häfner, and Jivka Ovtcharova. "Methodology for immersive emotional assessment of virtual product design by customers."Proceedings of the 5th Joint Virtual Reality Conference. Eurographics Association, 2013.
  • Schuck, Hendrik; Häfner, Victor; Ovtcharova, Jivka. Qualifizierung eines neuartigen Vibrationsverfahrens zur Dekontamination von Rohrleitungen.Digital Engineering zum Planen, Testen und Betreiben technischer Systeme, 17. IFF-Wissenschaftstage 2014.
  • Handfest, Alexander; Schröder, Michael; Grefe, Philip; Carra, Pablo; Häfner, Polina. "Integration eines realenFahrzeugs in eine Mixed-Reality-Fahrsimulation", 
  • Häfner, P., Vinke, C., Häfner, V., Ovtcharova, J., & Schotte, W. (2013). The impact of motion in virtual environments on memorization performance. In 2013 IEEE international conference on computational intelligence and virtual environments for measurement systems and applications (CIVEMSA) (S. 104–109). New York: IEEE.
  • Häfner, Victor; Siebel, Jan; Häfner, Polina; Rogalski, Sven. "Interaktive Flexibilitätsbewertung in virtuellen Welten"., Hanser Verlag, Heft März 2013, S. 123-127