University of Hull and VISR launch mixed reality accelerator

THE University of Hull is working on a project that could transform the way people do business by improving communication, efficiency and safety.

Louis Deane, MD of VISR.
Louis Deane, MD of VISR.

The university is working with the graduate technology company VISR to develop revolutionary “mixed reality” technologies for business.

The university is hosting the world’s first HoloLens summer school, a programme which aims to help industry fast-track the adoption of mixed reality technology.

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The accelerator will enable 24 computer science and digital media students to work alongside global companies to develop industry applications.

A university spokesman said: “They will be using the cutting edge HoloLens ‘seeing computer’ in conjunction with VISR’s VERTX computer operating system, to develop new solutions for industry.

“This combined technology enables them to flit between the real world and virtual worlds, in order to experiment with objects in both, to design new systems, processes and layouts to improve efficiency, safety and productivity.”

“Ultimately, the combined technology could make life easier for millions of workers.”

Microsoft is a supporter of the programme.

Leila Martine, Microsoft’s product marketing director, said the Mixed Reality Accelerator was designed to enable enterprises to adopt new technologies which would make them more competitive.

She added: “In this era of profound digital disruption, the majority of industries will experience significant change within two years.

“The practical digital skills training that University of Hull students receive will not only help their employability prospects, but also ensure that UK companies get state-of-the- art talent to transform the way we create, collaborate and explore in the future.”

John Hemingway, Director of ICT at the University of Hull, said the university was moving further into the emerging field of spatial computing and aimed to become a centre of excellence for this kind of innovation.

Louis Deane, a University of Hull graduate who co-founded VISR, one of the earliest Microsoft Mixed Reality partners in Europe, said: “The car engineer of the future is going to work very differently to the way they work today.

“The task of repairing vehicles has been the same for decades and we have an opportunity to change it.

“The engineer can now work in an environment where, as they approach a vehicle, the HoloLens can recognise where the work has to be carried out and provide direct visual instructions overlaid on the car.”

Combined with intelligent devices, such as robots, this process can lead to huge increases in cost savings and productivity, Mr Deane said.

Mr Deane added: “In order to make this a reality you need three key things: devices capable of providing this kind of smart data, a platform powerful enough to do something meaningful with it and people skilled enough to author such a system.

“In Hull we have all three. The shift we are going to see as a result of this technology over the next 10 to 15 years is going to be astronomical and we are running this programme to allow a group of carefully- selected companies to be first to grasp the opportunity this technology represents. It is exactly this type of innovative disruption that has made global businesses really sit up and take notice.