Mixed reality tech is a game-changer in Hull

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 20 Jun 2018

Radical ‘mixed reality’ technology which could change the way businesses run in the future is being pioneered in Hull.

Some of the city’s brightest students at Hull University are working alongside a host of global companies to develop state-of-the-art programmes, which have been dubbed as a ‘world first.’

The Accelerator project, in partnership with graduate tech company VISR, will run for nine weeks over the summer, and has been backed by Microsoft.

Read more: Hull virtual reality firm named as partner for new Microsoft headsets

Louis Deane, a University of Hull graduate who co-founded VISR, used the example of a car workshop to explain how the technology could impact our working lives.

She said: “The car engineer of the future is going to work very differently to the way they work today.

“It’s exciting because, fundamentally, the task of repairing vehicles has operationally 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.

“Pair this with intelligent devices, such as robots that bring the exact required parts and tools so they’re at hand and work with the technician to make them more efficient, and suddenly you’re looking at huge increases in cost savings and productivity.”

Companies already signed up to the Mixed Reality Accelerator include Audi, global drinks brand AB InBev, energy company Centrica and India-based digital learning experts, LearningMate.

Audi is looking to use technologies to improve context awareness and workflow in order to support its technicians.

Read more: Struggling Debenhams announces another profit slump amid high street crisis

John Hemingway, director of ICT at the University of Hull, said: “As a University, it’s important for us to not only lead from the front when it comes to cutting-edge technologies, but also to look at how those technologies allow us to create ever more skilled and work-ready graduates.

“We believe strongly in the potential offered by programmes that involve not just education, but also industry and private business as well. The Mixed Reality Accelerator is a great example of this.

“We’re excited to move further into the emerging field of spatial computing and establish the University of Hull as a centre of excellence for this kind of innovation.”

Recognising the enormous potential of the combined Microsoft and VISR technology, the University of Hull has invested in the Mixed Reality Accelerator and the creation of a first-of-its-kind specialist facility for HoloLens application development, based at its Enterprise Centre.

Read more: Innovative Hull business gets Powerhouse backing for Moodbeam device

Leila Martine, Microsoft’s product marketing director, said: “The launch of the ‘Mixed Reality Accelerator’ by the University of Hull and VISR, is a landmark programme that is specifically designed to enable enterprises to fast-track the adoption of new technologies.   

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

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