The 2023 Capital Equipment Fund will provide Walton Institute with a suite of immersive equipment including a Hologram room, Holographic table, and emerging Extended Reality headsets
Walton Institute at South East Technological University (SETU) is proud to be one of the chosen recipients of the €16.5m 2023 Capital Equipment Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland through the Technology Gateway and Technology Centre Programmes.
48 successful projects from across the third-level sector have secured funding to assist them in purchasing world-leading research equipment that will serve the research, development, and innovation (RD&I) needs of Irish industry.
The Capital Call will provide Walton Institute with a suite of immersive equipment including a Hologram room, Holographic table, and emerging Extended Reality headsets, greatly enhancing the Institute’s Mixed Reality Lab and its ability to deliver cutting edge innovative solutions for a variety of industries.
Ability to interact with life-size representations of building plans, machinery and more
This new Holographic Testbed will enable multidisciplinary co-design and digital driven innovation by providing a platform where users can view and collaboratively interact with virtual representations of models in real time. This includes for example life-size representations of building plans and machinery which has many benefits for architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC), automotive, aeronautical and industry training, among others. In the AEC industry alone, this technology could help identify areas requiring rectification at an early stage in the design process which would not only optimise design efficiency but would also enhance client satisfaction.
The Hologram room itself supersedes any immersive reality experience currently available. It consists of a fully enclosed space filled with projectors and tracking equipment that is capable of providing an immersive holographic environment which essentially renders the room’s walls ‘invisible,’ so the user operates under the illusion that they are present in a huge holographic open space. Users are not required to wear sophisticated Virtual Reality (VR) headsets in the room, instead they wear streamlined eyewear and can even make eye contact with others whilst present in the room where they shall maintain spatial awareness and experience significantly less motion sickness in comparison to VR experiences.
Beneficial for Architecture, Engineering, Training, Education and the Arts
“There is a vast amount of use cases for this state-of-the-art holographic equipment, and I can see how it would be beneficial for Architecture, Engineering, Training, Education, and the Arts among many other sectors. It would greatly enhance real time collaborations with users being able to view and interact with the same content. Holographic tables and rooms are capable of displaying life-size virtual objects and even 3D animated models, so it would be possible for users to view and interact with a scan of an entire landscape,” said Stephen Barnes, Mixed Reality Lab Lead, Walton Institute. “The addition of the emerging Extended Reality (XR) Headsets will also help maximise the offerings provided by the Mixed Reality and Digital Photogrammetry labs at Walton Institute and optimise industry engagement providing fully immersive VR experiences and enhanced AR capabilities with devices capable of blending real and virtual objects seamlessly.”
For architects or designers and clients the testbed would provide an extraordinary opportunity to fully immerse themselves into a life size model and essentially have the feeling of “living” in the design. This unique collaboration platform would be a vast improvement on current immersive technology solutions, removing the current limitations of collaborative Augmented Reality (AR) experiences with users able to comfortably collaborate in the same holographic environment.
Similarly in the manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries the proposed testbed would enhance industry’s ability to engage with realistic Digital Twin processes including high resolution interactive representations of their equipment for both lean manufacturing processes and exploration as well as training purposes. While artists and animation studios would have the opportunity to virtually exhibit their 3D work including animations in both a thoroughly engaging and innovative way.
Opportunity for businesses to explore new services and solutions
Speaking of its importance for businesses in the South East, ICS Technology Gateway Manager, Liam Fitzgerald said, “The addition of this Holographic Testbed to our existing Mixed Reality and Digital Photogrammetry Labs, means that Walton Institute can now provide a unique state of the art equipment offering in an Irish context. The opportunities these technologies present for businesses to explore new services and solutions are very exciting and our expert team look forward to supporting this work.”
The ICS Technology Gateway at Walton Institute, SETU, is an advanced software R&D organisation with particular expertise in communications services, immersive technologies, machine learning, data analytics, future networks, digital platforms, internet of things, and AI.
The ICS Technology Gateway Programme is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the ERDF Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021-27. To learn more visit: [url=https://waltoninstitute.ie/industry/technology-gateway]https://waltoninstitute.ie/industry/technology-gateway[/url]