Knowledge meets play: The new Fraunhofer IIS AI showroom

Artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining more and more ground in everyday life, but very few people actually know what it’s really all about. Fraunhofer IIS has come up with a special way to shed light on this important topic: a “showroom” that considers many different aspects of AI – and is open to everyone. Presenting the institute’s own AI research methods, expertise and use cases in ways accessible to the general public, the AI showroom also gives visitors the opportunity to playfully engage with AI and even co-create it. The AI showroom was officially opened with a ceremony attended by representatives of industry, politics and society on May 17, 2022.


In honor of Joseph von Fraunhofer

The new AI showroom location in the Augustinerhof in the heart of Nuremberg puts it in respectable company – namely the Future Museum, a branch of Munich’s Deutsches Museum. Visitors can learn about all kinds of future topics and then go next door to the new showroom and immerse themselves in the world of AI. Covering a total area of 60 m2, the showroom is divided into four sections. As soon as they enter, visitors are met with a series of four colored glass panels. These recall the namesake of Europe’s largest applied research organization, Joseph von Fraunhofer, and his pioneering work on the spectral absorption lines of sunlight. The panels present his research biography and the operational scope of Fraunhofer IIS.

Eröffnung des KI-Showrooms im Augustinerhof Nürnberg
© Fraunhofer IIS, Paul Pulkert
Experience artificial intelligence: the AI Showroom of the Fraunhofer IIS

Interactive AI knowledge transfer

Next stop is the AI exhibition, which provides the basic content required to understand the technology as well as a selection of Fraunhofer IIS research topics. These include a topic that is particularly relevant at the moment: the sustainable handling of data throughout its life cycle – from collecting, analyzing and publishing to archiving and reusing it. The exhibition takes a multimedia approach, with information boards and inter- active screens presenting text, stills and videos – including about sample use cases from Fraunhofer IIS research.

Armed with all this fascinating knowledge, it’s time for visitors to get involved: in the center of the room, an interactive gaming table stands ready for talented players to demon- strate their skills. The goal of Metro Driver – a subway game based on a joint research project between VAG Verkehrs-Aktiengesellschaft Nürnberg and Fraunhofer IIS – is to guide subway trains through multiple stations as energy-efficiently as possible. Together, the trains are not allowed to cause any load peaks and must remain on schedule. Quite a challenge – that is, without the help of AI!

It all began with mp3

The fourth section, Audio and Media Technologies, features a large light installation based on US singer Suzanne Vega’s classic earworm track “Tom’s Diner.” The a cappella version of the song played a key part in vastly improving a predecessor to the mp3 coding algorithm. The content of the exhibition ranges from the history of mp3 across all four generations of audio codecs to current research topics such as AI-driven audio signal processing and digital speech assistants. 

Eröffnung des Ki-Showrooms
© Fraunhofer IIS, Paul Pulkert
Light installation based on Suzanne Vega's Song Tom's Diner

Networking in the lounge

With their eyes and ears still buzzing from the reds and blues of the light installation and Vega’s “da da da da,” visitors can round out their time at the AI showroom by relaxing on the comfortable sofas in the networking lounge. For those who are fascinated by AI and want to learn more, there is a monitor showing nuggets of Fraunhofer IIS knowledge as well as job opportunities at the institute. Meeting rooms located on the lower level can be booked to accommodate larger group discussions. And for those who still haven’t had enough, there’s another highlight to visit right next to the AI showroom: the JOSEPHS® open innovation lab, a spin-off of Fraunhofer IIS and Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. This is where innovations can be tested and feedback given, all of which helps shape the development of tomorrow’s products and services.

We look forward to your visit!

Eröffnung des KI-Showrooms
© Fraunhofer IIS, Paul Pulkert
Mayor of Nuremberg Marcus König (2nd from right) with the three Directors of Fraunhofer IIS – Prof. Albert Heuberger (2nd from left), Prof. Bernhard Grill (3rd from left) and Prof. Alexander Martin (right) – and guests at the opening of the AI showroom in May

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Agnes Pelzl

Contact Press / Media

Agnes Pelzl

Deputy Head of Corporate Communications

Fraunhofer IIS
Am Wolfsmantel 33
91058 Erlangen, Germany

Phone +49 9131 776-1644