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UK’s First Centre For Creative and Immersive XR Opens

Portsmouth University students can use the centre’s tools to build XR projects

The Centre for Creative and Immersive XR, which offers charities and businesses tools to create virtual experiences and other content, has just opened at Portsmouth University. Including a government grant of £3.6m, the centre raised over £5m in funding.

Portsmouth University students will learn to utilize the leading-edge tools contained within the centre by completing projects. Among other technologies, the Centre for Creative and Immersive XR includes a motion capture area and a photogrammetry space where multiple images of an object, scene, or person are scanned to create 2D and 3D digital models.

In addition, the centre hosts a WhiteLight SmartStage, an immersive video environment utilizing Unreal engine graphics that lets viewers and presenters interact with the virtual content surrounding them. 

The Metaverse: Out of Touch

While Web3 technology can fully immerse users visually, touch in the metaverse has yet to be perfected. That’s not to say there aren’t yet products capable of synthesizing touch. H2L, a Japanese tech company, is developing an armband that will allow users to feel pain in the metaverse. Likewise, Emerge has launched the Emerge Home system, which synthesizes touch. However, most metaverse users are currently limited to visual immersion via headsets.

Technical Director for the Centre for Creative and Immersive XR, Alex Counsell, stated that the centre is already attracting a lot of attention and believes that the pandemic led to a surge in consumer interest in extended reality.

“I think everyone during lockdown was realizing that barriers can be broken down… there were ways of using technology to cover distances that you normally couldn’t,” said Counsell. “And a lot of the technology we’ve got here allows people to have a digital presence, to be able to interact meaningfully with a digital world. And you can interconnect people from anywhere around the globe in these kinds of environments.”

Written By

Jack Brassell is a freelance journalist and aspiring novelist. Jack is a self-proclaimed nerd with a lifelong passion for storytelling. As an author, Jack writes mostly horror and young adult fantasy. Also an avid gamer, she works as the lead news editor at Hardcore Droid. When she isn't writing or playing games, she can often be found binge-watching Parks & Rec or The Office, proudly considering herself to be a cross between Leslie Knope and Pam Beasley.

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