smartPIV – an app for flow visualization by cross-correlation and optical flow using smartphones


  • Patrick Mäder SECSY@Technische Universität Ilmenau, Germany
  • Jonas Hüther SECSY@Technische Universität Ilmenau, Germany
  • Sebastian Jeschke SECSY@Technische Universität Ilmenau, Germany
  • Constanze Poll SECSY@Technische Universität Ilmenau, Germany
  • Henning Otto TTD@Technische Universität Ilmenau, Germany
  • Christian Cierpka TTD@Technische Universität Ilmenau, Germany



In recent years smartphones considerably changed our communication and are used on a daily (or even every minute) basis especially by students without any difficulties. Fluid flows also belong to our daily experiences. However, the education of the basic principles of fluid mechanics is sometimes cumbersome due to its non-linear nature. This problem may be tackled in practical sessions applying flow visualization techniques in wind or water tunnels and directly learn from own observations. Nowadays, often optical methods like particle imaging velocimetry (PIV) or particle tracking velocimetry (PTV) are used for these purposes. A typical PIV/PTV setup consists of a (double)pulse laser, a scientific camera and a synchronization device. The costs for this equipment can easily add up to more than 100,000 euros and the installations and set up of the systems requires experiences and is complex. For these reasons Universities often only offer practical courses for a small amount of students and the students may not be allowed to use and set up the systems by their own as the equipment is also needed for scientific research. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic it is also often not allowed to share equipment or even to work in larger groups during practical sessions.






Algorithms and Techniques