Thursday, 6 December, 2007


TUV NORD launches representation in Second Life:


Explore the Future in 3-D – By Avatar into a Fuel Cell



Hanover, Essen, Hamburg, TUV NORD (Second Life): German TÜV NORD Group aka TUV NORD is now using interactive learning facilities on the world’s most famous three-dimensional platform Second Life to make technology and climate protec­tion a real experience (from 7 December, 6 p.m. CET, 9 a.m. PST). The company, one of Germany’s leading technical service providers, is launching a facility there. “We’ll be operating an important experimental lab here to link up with the knowledge community in the whole of the virtual world, but also to actively involve our own international organisation in over 70 countries around the globe,” explained Dr. Guido Rettig, Chairman of the Board of Management of TUV NORD Group, when launching the virtual platform. Initially, visitors can take on the form of avatars (these are the computer graphic figures representing the users) in order to plunge into the fascinating internal workings of a fuel cell or investigate how ground penetrating radar works - and earn money at the same time. “On Second Life's world map, you can find us on the island TUV NORD," explains project manager Frank Boerger.


In years to come, the internet as it is predominantly known to users today may be no more than a part of a multimedia, three-dimensional world wide web. Which is why TUV NORD is becoming involved as an active partner and driving force in this medium of the future, aiming to position itself at an early stage with other major German brands like Deutsche Post, EnBW and Mercedes Benz. Renowned universities such as Prince­ton, MIT or the University of Hamburg are also researching and teaching on the virtual platform. “IBM has thousands of employees searching for the key to an open 3-D Web – and for some weeks now has been  officially cooperating with Linden Lab, the inventors of Second Life,“ explains Hanno Tietgens from Hamburg based Buero X, the agency assisting the endeavour.

Through these activities, Dr. Rettig and Gunnar Thaden, Head of IT at TUV NORD Group, together with the organisation and over 5,000 scientists and engineers, are seeking to discover more about the 3-D world and its opportunities, and to use the Group’s own skills and expertise to actively enhance and also benefit from it. Information about the Group’s future competences is provided at the virtual TUV STATION near the central landing point. Visitors then proceed by teleport to the interactive learning facilities. Thaden is very interested in the virtual 3-D world and declares: “Second Life is an ideal platform for developments in simulation, virtualisa­tion and immersive learning. To start with, we’re looking at climate protection, the issue of tomorrow’s world.”


Experience climate protection supersize

In real life, fuel cells are used to gain clean energy from hydrogen - an important contribution to climate protec­tion. For Second Life, TUV NORD Group has designed an enormous, 65-metre high model of this type of cell – real fuel cells are a lot smaller.  

The cell invites visitors to come on an interactive tour of exploration. Using their avatars they literally fly right into the inner depths of the cells. Electricity and heat are generated here from hydrogen and oxygen. Complex programming makes the exact point this happens visible - and the visitor is right in the middle of it all. On the way there and back, the whole process is explained in simple terms and brought to life in three dimensions. The role of the fuel cell as an energy source of the future is also explained – and how the skills of TUV NORD Group are involved in planning and constructing the application environments of these types of cells.


Slipping into the role of the TÜV expert

The second edutainment project on TUV NORD island gives Second Life residents the chance to familiarise themselves with how ground penetrating radar (GPR) works – and earn virtual money at the same time.

Using a digital model of the high-tech equipment, the avatar analyses the building plot of a projected “Academy of the Future” for legacy pollution and any problems in the soil. Six challenges face the users, who may slip into the role of TUV NORD experts and make a virtual contribution to soil conservation and environ­mental protection in this learning scenario. They look for old oil tanks, find forgotten cables and pipes, safeguard sensitive tree roots and even an entire dyke. This is a fun way of showing how costs can be minimised and risks excluded by using state-of-the-art technology in conjunction with the skills of TUV professionals. The avatar is awarded Linden dollars, the Second Life currency, for every challenge solved.


Initial opening times in Second Life

Right from the beginning there will be office hours every Tuesday (10 a.m. to 12 noon CET / 1 to 3 am PST) and Friday (2 to 4 p.m. CET / 5 to 7 a.m. PST), at which Second Life users will be able to obtain competent answers to their own individual questions directly on the platform. In the medium term, people from further special areas of TUV NORD Group’s various competence centres will be available to discuss technical issues.

Should co-operation with international colleagues intensify in the next phase of the Second Life project, it is possible that the virtual TUV NORD station will stay open round the clock. All employees can take part in continuing to develop the platform. An internal ideas exchange will guarantee the expansion and progress of TUV NORD island.


About TUV NORD Group

“Making our world safer”: TUV NORD Group ( with its staff of over 7,300 employees, more than 5,000 of whom have technical or scientific backgrounds, is one of the biggest technical service providers in Germany and number one in the north of the country. In addition, it is active in more than 70 other countries of Europe, Asia and America. The Group owes its leading position in the market to its technical competence and to the broad range of consultancy, service and testing activities performed by its Academy, Certification, Energy and Systems Engineering, Interna­tional, Mobility and Systems business units.