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The XR4ALL project, co-funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, was brought to life to help forge a competitive, sustainable XR tech ecosystem in Europe. One of its main objectives is to promote the development of XR innovative solutions via an 'Open Call'.
Projects selected through the Open Call can receive up to €50,000 by delivering on two support phases with specific deliverables. Completed projects will receive €10,000 for phase 1, and €40,000 for phase 2.
The first drive for applications for the XR4ALL Open Call was launched at the end of June 2019 and it was closed 5 months later, at the end of November 2019.
In the following paragraphs, key insights from the Open Call’s applicants will be provided, in order to analyse the distribution of applications within Europe, the type of industry as well as the type of XR solution offered by the applicants.
86 innovative XR tech solutions
At the end of the deadline for the first cohort, XR4ALL received 86 proposals, with more than one-third coming from Germany (13), Italy (11) and Spain (9). From all the applications, 67 were submitted by SMEs, 9 by Academic Institutions and 6 by Research Institutes.
1st Phase: 16 applications selected for the concept phase
The projects selected in this phase were granted €10,000 as a lump sum, to expand upon and validate their concept from a business and a technical perspective.
From the original 86 applications, 16 projects created by the following companies were selected by three external and independent evaluators:
- Sense of Space 🇫🇮
- Timepath 🇪🇸
- NUMENA GmbH 🇩🇪
- CLARTE 🇫🇷
- JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH 🇦🇹
- Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V. 🇩🇪
- WEKIT ECS 🇮🇪
- Intellia ICT Private Company 🇬🇷
- Universidad de Cadiz 🇪🇸
- Research Studios Austria Forschungsgesellschaft mbH 🇦🇹
- LudoCraft Oy 🇫🇮
- Krill Audio 🇪🇸
- Fincons Group 🇮🇹
- Quanta & Qualia 🇬🇷
- ENNEAS IKE 🇬🇷
- SyncVR Medical B.V. 🇳🇱
The 16 applications selected are geographically distributed as follows:
Applications from 9 European countries were selected, Greece and Spain being the leaders with 3 shortlisted proposals in this phase.
For the type of industry, it can be again observed that SMEs were a large portion of the total of projects selected in phase 1.
Finally, for the type of solution, XR and VR solutions lead the number of projects selected in this phase with 8 and 5 respectively.
>2nd Phase: 8 subgrantees selected for the development phase
Projects admitted to this phase will undertake to develop a working version of the proposed solution, a tested 'Minimum Viable Product' (MVP). Furthermore, the working version of the solution, or a limited-functionality version, will be promoted on the XR4ALL’s XR Solutions Catalogue. The funding for this phase is €40,000 as a lump sum.
Without further ado, here are the final 8 selected companies with their XR innovative ideas for the first cohort:
Wekit ECS 🇮🇪
WEKIT ECS is a startup building industrial-grade Performance Augmentation solutions. The Dublin-based startup’s holographic solutions radically augment the apprentice-expert relationship with Mixed Reality by allowing the novice to 'wear the expert', improving and speeding up knowledge transfer. The founder team brings to the table more than 100 years of experience in XR, routinely delivering agile projects across the globe.
The project proposed: The MIRAGE-XR project will enable experts and learners to share experiences using AR/MR with ghost tracks, in-situ feedback and instructions, using wearables based on the open-source MIRAGE-XR platform.
Contact details: Prof. Dr Fridolin Wild
Krill Audio 🇪🇸
Based in Malaga, Krill Audio provides a unique contact point to deliver the whole production process related to music and interactive audio for video games, solving the current fragmentation of this pipeline in many studios.
Krill Audio is also involved in innovative developments with their own game in due course and a number of projects involving the creation of different audio tools for engines like Unity and Unreal, their Krill Audio Sound Engine, and the work with the latest SDK.
The project proposed: A new approach to audio interaction, with a standalone audio engine that will plug into any existing framework to maximise creative possibilities and minimise code implementation time.
An award-winning IT business consultancy with 37 years of experience in IT Business Consulting and System Integration. The Group provides a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations to different industries including Financial Services, Media, Energy & Utilities, Transportation, Manufacturing, Public Administration and International Institutions. High quality and competitiveness are further guaranteed by the Smart-shore IT Service strategy made available through the Delivery Center in Bari (Italy), which provides advanced application management and system building services along the entire digital supply chain. With over 1700 employees, Fincons Group has offices in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, in the UK and in the US.
The project proposed: the project objectives are to enhance the XR4ALL platform with components, allowing the creation of AR applications to customise the provided information according to attributes that characterise the AR application’s user.
Contact details: Matteo Villa, Global Business Unit General Manager.
The RSA FG is an Austrian research company with locations in Vienna, Salzburg and Linz.
Its mission consists in transferring innovation and knowledge from universities to markets. The RSA FG researches and develops digital intelligence in six independently operating studios. The competencies of these studios range from 4D-geodata visualization to virtual and augmented reality applications and big data analytics. A team of 50 researchers provides the necessary innovative power.
The project proposed: a low-level plugin, allowing users to automatically generate stereoscopic renderings from a generic 3D environment to any compatible XR system.
Contact details: Christian Thomay, Deputy Director of Studio PCA.
The Utrecht-based startup is the largest EU VR healthcare platform for the implementation of Virtual Reality in medical institutions.
The project proposed: SyncVR Unity Plugin (SUP) aims to provide a VR platform for healthcare that frees both app developers and healthcare providers from the burden of dealing with many individual parties.
Contact details: Freek van Polen, co-founder & developer.
Based in Agrinio, the SME is specialized in the Human-Computer Interaction area, focusing οn improving the immersive level in eXtended Reality via solutions that make the end-user to interact naturally within the digital environment with the use of their fingers.
The project proposed: Delivery & deployment of Magos Gloves, a new technology that combines 4 data types, that entirely revolutionize the framework upon which content creators can build XR applications. During the program, a Unity Demo Package that demonstrates Magos capabilities will be provided to the XR community.
Contact details: Greg Agriopoulos, founder & CEO.
Clarte is a research study and technology transfer centre specialised in VR and AR.
Based in Laval and founded in 1996, CLARTE accelerates the adoption and deployment of VR, AR and AI technologies through 3 programs:
- CDT] Consulting and technological diffusion, - R&T] Research and Technology, - T²] Technology transfer
The project proposed: The embodiment module will offer any headset-based VR application user the possibility to see his/her own body as well as his/her collaborators. This is expected to improve the user’s self and social presence in the immersive simulation, as well as improving the performance of the user while performing different tasks in the virtual environment.
The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science is a non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes. Research at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences revolves around human cognitive abilities and cerebral processes, with a focus on the neural basis of brain functions like language, emotions and human social behaviour, music and action.
The project proposed: Excite-O-Meter, a user-friendly Unity plugin for XR creators to integrate physiological user information in the development and evaluation of XR content.
Contact details: Dr Michael Gaebler.
XR4ALL wishes to thank all applicants for their time and effort. The results of the Open Call’s second cohort will be published in Q3 2020, while the third & last opportunity to apply for the XR4ALL Open Call is live now! Apply before 16 November 2020 at xr4all.eu/opencall and subscribe to the XR4ALL newsletter for more information!