November: Projects funded by MyWorld | News and features

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The world’s first Metaverse live-streaming studio, a more sustainable yet equally spectacular alternative to fireworks, and a pioneering technique to transform sensory products and experiences are among six tech pioneers to receive a $1 million share pound sterling.

Start-ups across the West of England will be the first to benefit from MyWorld funding, delivered in partnership with Digital Catapult. MyWorld is a visionary initiative led by the University of Bristol, which aims to drive innovation in creative technology tools and processes, empower the public and drive the growth of creative businesses.

Following a rigorous selection process conducted by Innovate UK, the successful bidders are: innovators in drone show performance Celestial Laboratoriessensory pioneers Zero point movementimmersive art collective Marshmallow laser partyvirtual event virtuosos Condense realitysoft robot studio air giants, and metaverse pioneers Awarri.

The projects, focusing on immersive technologies and on-screen robotics, will address current challenges in creative sector industries. The funding will allow them to further develop their products and services and offer innovative research and development-driven solutions. They will work in collaboration with academics from the University of the West of England, the University of Bath Spa and the University of Bristol.

One of the projects led by award-winning start-up Condense Reality, based in Bristol, has developed the first-ever metaverse live streaming studio. This will allow music industry customers to stream live performances to any virtual space. It was built using a game engine and events can be monetized through ticketing and sponsorship. Live 3D content can be experienced through gaming consoles and mobile phone games, as well as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

Another, Celestial Labs, which has its roots in Somerset and Bath, already puts on mesmerizing drone shows around the world. Drone demonstrations are increasingly popular as they offer a greener alternative to fireworks. The funding will allow Celestial Labs to develop exceptional new drone light shows by responding to performers in real time, expressing their music and dance through an immersive fusion of color and movement.

Zero Point Motion is the brainchild of award-winning physicist and inventor Dr Ying Lia Li, who grew up in Bristol and is now on a mission to revolutionize the world of sensors. Unique sensing technology deploys photonics – the science of light waves – to achieve ultra-low noise motion tracking. These pioneering inertial sensors can be more than 100 times more sensitive than those currently used in smartphones, cars and game consoles. The funding will allow Zero Point Motion to undertake a first-of-its-kind study that could generate new methods for the creative industry to measure immersion or responses to visual stimuli.

Marshmallow Laser Feast will work with creators All Seeing Eye Southwest to produce a range of tools designed to support the delivery of immersive location-based experiences for mass audiences. These services will provide greater opportunities for the entertainment, visitor experience, and arts and culture sectors.

Air Giants, creators of giant robotic soft creatures, will explore new territory for large-scale tactile interaction between robots and people, in collaboration with the Bristol Interaction Group at the University of Bristol. The work will advance the play and leisure industries and create innovative sensory environments, for example supporting children with special needs.

Richard Sewell, Director at Air Giants, said: “Our project, Giant Tactile Robots, will allow us to extend our unique work with joyful giant robots. We will create new types of body-wide touch interactions in ways never before possible, providing audiences with wonderful and emotionally effective experiences. This funding has enabled a collaboration, which will bring an academic perspective and deepen the understanding of human-computer interaction.

Awarri, founded by Silas Adekunle, means “seek and find” in the commonly spoken African language, Yoruba. It helps lay the foundation for an inclusive and equitable metaverse by developing a cross-world avatar system that relies on 3D artists and uses Non-Fungible Token (NFT) technology to give users control of their identity, representation and personal data in virtual worlds. . Awarri will work with the University of the West of England to ensure that user rights and an open, creator- and user-centric framework are at the heart of the Metaverse, a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on on social connection.

MyWorld is backed by £30 million in funding from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Strength in Places fund and connects regional and national partners with global tech giants including Netflix, Google and Microsoft. Made up of a unique cross-industry consortium, its partners include the BBC, Aardman Animations, BT, Digital Catapult and Bristol Old Vic.

The hub is expected to generate over 700 new jobs and boost the regional economy by £223m. It aims to forge dynamic collaborations between world-renowned academic institutions and creative industries to develop technological innovation, creative excellence, inclusive cultures and knowledge sharing.

Professor David Bull, Director of MyWorld from the University of Bristol, said: “The West of England is an exciting, dynamic and globally recognized source of creative tech innovation and MyWorld is delighted to be funding this first cohort of collaborative research and development projects. We look forward to seeing the results and to seeing what new opportunities they will generate for partners and the region.

Rachel Tyrrell, Program Director of the UKRI Strength in Places Fund, said: “I am delighted to see the MyWorld project awarding R&D grants to six innovative projects in the South West of England. This funding will boost the local creative technology industry and strengthen university-business partnerships. »

The open call for collaborative research and development (R&D) is led by MyWorld partner Digital Catapult, and the competition is organized by Innovate UK.

Other creative businesses across the region will have the opportunity to bid for funding during the next R&D call, due in January 2023.

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