HHI and IFA - two institutions of technological history

January 30, 2018


When the first “Große Deutsche Funkausstellung” Radio Exhibition (IFA) opened on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds in December 1924, the Heinrich-Hertz-Institut was still a vision of the founding fathers of the Heinrich Hertz Gesellschaft. The vision became reality in 1928 and since then the Institute has often been represented at IFA.

The Heinrich-Hertz-Institut and the International Radio Exhibition (IFA) both have a long history. Fraunhofer HHI regularly exhibits at the IFA. Many of the institute's inventions and technologies were presented at the fair. IFA is one of the world's largest trade fairs for the electronics industry.

Many visionary research results of Fraunhofer HHI were presented at the IFA over the years. The presentation of the mirror bolt receiver with a capillary lamp (a television receiver for sound and vision) in 1933 for example, culminated in the presentation of 3D Human Body Reconstruction technology in 2017. This new technology enables the realistic image of a person to be captured and then transferred to a virtual world.

Between the two inventions lie not only decades of intensive research work, but also an eventful German history, which has left its mark in the chronicles of the two traditional technology institutions. In 1933, the name of Heinrich Hertz was removed from the Heinrich-Hertz-Institut for Vibration Research, which was founded in 1928, due to his Jewish heritage. The Institute was moved to Schwerin during the war and later rebuilt again in Berlin. Since 2003, the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut (HHI) has been part of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft for the Promotion of Applied Research.

The International Radio Exhibition looks back on changes of name and location as well, as it was once founded as the "Große Deutsche Funkausstellung". The Radio Exhibition could not take place at all from 1940 to 1949, and between 1950 and 1970, the world of technology met in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main and Stuttgart. The IFA has only been back in Berlin since 1971 and thus again close to the Heinrich Hertz Institute.