Anticipation fills the air as I eagerly await the start of the two-day Innovate UK immersive technology conference. Seated within the Advanced Media Production studio at PROTO in Gateshead, my thoughts go to the diverse assembly of 100 delegates who have gathered here. I ask myself how far they have travelled and how invested they are in finding the next innovation to bring home? Could this day mark a turning point for their businesses or careers?
A Dedicated Delegate
Seated beside me is Sam Walsh, a Project Engineer from Lancaster University, dedicated to overseeing collaborative Research and Development initiatives bridging academia and industry. Committed to the two-day exploration at the event, Sam's primary objective is to gain an understanding of immersive technology and its potential applications. With a background rich in modelling and Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Sam contemplates the integration of Extended Reality (XR) in his work. He talks about his enthusiasm for the evolving landscape of immersive technology, noting that he's keen to observe advancements with lighter, more comfortable glasses-like technology in the future.
Meet Paul Davies, a Technical Fellow at Boeing Research & Technology, dedicated to enhancing the aircraft manufacturing process. Paul is using Augmented Reality (AR) to construct planes 20% faster, and at an 88% improvement in quality. Using HoloLens headsets engineers don’t have any motion sickness issues or other adverse effects. Impressively, the training for engineers is streamlined, requiring only two 30-minute courses. Paul shared that the factory he works in produces a new plane every 16 hours, with a construction time of just 9 days per aircraft.
Birmingham's GIS Maven
As we take a break from the keynote speakers I strike up a conversation with Sheoma Richards, a Senior GIS Analyst from Birmingham. A member of the Policy, Strategy, and Innovation team, Sheoma's work revolves around understanding how changes to transportation services impact the public. At Transport for West Midlands, Sheomas goal for attending the conference is exploring building a digital twin of the transport network. Combining a digital twin with VR technology Sheoma believes would have amazing opportunities for testing new transport systems.
Beth's XR Adventure
After a spot of lunch it’s time to explore the conference again. I met Beth Thompson, an exhibitor from Tamworth with a passion for VR gaming from her teenage years. Beth's journey into the world of XR has taken her to Theorem, a forward thinking tech company. Beth quickly adapted to the language and workflow of engineers. She emphasises the importance of leveraging organisational tech resources to grasp industry intricacies and recommends building relationships with fellow women in tech at networking events. Beth's attendance at the event provides networking opportunities and helps her understand end users' pain points.
At the Innovate UK immersive technology conference in Gateshead, 100 delegates seek innovations. Sam Walsh, a Lancaster University Project Engineer, explores Extended Reality (XR) in collaborative research. Boeing's Paul Davies shares AR's impact on faster, higher-quality aircraft manufacturing. Sheoma Richards, a Birmingham GIS Analyst, aims to understand public transport impacts and build a digital twin. Beth Thompson's XR adventure fuses gaming passion with tech innovation. These stories represent the event's spirit, where technology, vision, and industry converge.
For more events and information on immersive technology get in touch at proto.co.uk