From live-streaming metaverse experiences to eco-friendly firework alternatives; meet the pioneering startups set for new heights thanks to MyWorldPosted 9 Nov 2022
The world’s first metaverse live streaming studio, a more sustainable but equally spectacular alternative to fireworks, and a pioneering technique set to transform sensory products and experiences are among six technology trailblazers to be awarded a share of £1million.
The startups from 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, empowering audiences and fuelling creative business growth.
Following a rigorous selection process, the successful projects are:
- Drone show performance innovators Celestial Labs;
- Sensory pioneers Zero Point Motion;
- Immersive art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast;
- Virtual event virtuosos Condense Reality;
- Joyful soft robot studio Air Giants;
- Metaverse ground breakers Awarri.
Focusing on screen-based, immersive technologies and robotics, the projects will address current challenges within creative sector industries. The funding will enable them to further develop their products and services, and deliver innovative research and development-led solutions. They will work in collaboration with academics from the University of West of England, Bath Spa University and the University of Bristol.
Digital Catapult is delivering the open innovation funding calls to enable the research and development of new products, processes and services and innovative experimental prototypes in creative digital and advanced media production, network distribution, and audience evaluation. These innovation opportunities are designed to advance regional capabilities and develop the South West’s creative industries business ecosystem.
One of the projects led by Condense Reality and based in Bristol, has developed the first-ever metaverse livestreaming studio which opened in September. It will allow their clients in the music industry to stream live performances into any virtual space built using a game engine and to monetise these events with ticketing and sponsorship. Their live 3D content can be consumed inside console and mobile games as well as in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
Another, Celestial Labs, which has roots in Somerset and Bath, is already delivering spellbinding drone shows across the globe. Drone displays are increasingly popular, as they offer a more eco-friendly alternative to fireworks. The funding will allow Celestial Labs to develop outstanding new drone light shows by responding to performers in real time, expressing their music and dance through an immersive fusion of colour and movement.
Zero Point Motion is the brainchild of award-winning female physicist and inventor Dr Ying Lia Li, who grew up in Bristol and is now on a mission to revolutionise the world of sensors. The project, ‘Digibeat: Inertial Feedback using Immersive Sensors‘, uses unique inertial sensing technology that deploys photonics – the science of light waves – to achieve ultra-low noise tracking of motion. These pioneering sensors can be more than 100 times more sensitive than those currently used in smartphones, cars, and games consoles. The funding will allow Zero Point Motion to undertake first-of-its-kind study that could generate new methods for the creative industry to measure immersion or reactions to visual stimulus.
Marshmallow Laser Feast will be working with South West-based creatives All Seeing Eye to produce a range of tools designed to support the delivery of immersive location-based experiences – to mass audiences – for the entertainment, visitor experience, and arts & culture sectors.
Air Giants, creators of giant robotic soft creatures, will explore new territory with large-scale tactile interaction between robots and people, working with the Bristol Interaction Group from the University of Bristol. The work will advance the gaming and leisure industries and create innovative sensory environments, for example, supporting children with special needs.
Awarri, founded by Silas Adekunle and meaning ‘seek and find’ in the commonly spoken African language Yoruba, is helping lay the foundations for an inclusive and fair Metaverse by developing a cross-world avatar system that relies on 3D artists and uses non-fungible token (NFT) technology to give users control over their identity, representation and personal data in virtual worlds. Awarri will be working with Verity McIntosh, a researcher and senior lecturer in virtual and extended realities at the University of the West of England to ensure that users’ rights, as well as an open, creator and user driven framework, are at the metaverse’s core.
There’s such a strong culture of innovation in the South West which we’re so pleased to see reflected in the ideas from this group of exciting companies. With Digital Catapult’s expertise in immersive applications for the metaverse and consumer experiences powered by virtual reality, as well as our work in deep tech areas like photonics and AI, we’re excited to lend our experience during this collaboration to bring these concepts to reality.Sarah Addezio Innovation Partner and MyWorld Programme Lead, Digital Catapult
The West of England is an exciting, vibrant and globally recognised destination for creative technology innovation and MyWorld is delighted to fund this first cohort of collaborative research and development projects. We can’t wait to see the results and see what further opportunities they will generate for the partners and the region.Professor David Bull MyWorld Director
I am delighted to see the MyWorld project award R&D grants to six innovative projects in the South-West of England. This funding will stimulate the local creative technology industry and strengthen partnerships between universities and business.Rachel Tyrrell Programme Director, UKRI Strength in Places Fund
MyWorld is supported by £30m of funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund and is connecting regional and national partners with global tech giants, including Netflix, Google, and Microsoft. Made up of a unique cross-sector consortium, its partners include the BBC, Aardman Animations, BT, Digital Catapult, and Bristol Old Vic.
The hub is projected to generate more than 700 new jobs and boost the regional economy by £223m. It aims to forge dynamic collaborations between world-leading academic institutions and creative industries to develop technological innovation, creative excellence, inclusive cultures, and knowledge sharing.
The Collaborative Research and Development (R&D) Open Call is led by Innovate UK and delivered by Digital Catapult. Find out more about the funded projects here.
Digital Catapult is also delivering a Challenge Call in January 2023 named ‘Catalysts & Connectors: Tools for the Creative Industries’, aiming to support SMEs in the West of England region to collaborate with and leverage larger commercial opportunities in order to build prototypes that address market opportunities or industry challenges around the theme of tooling for the creative continuum.
Cementing the West of England as a creative media powerhouse.