Virtual Reality technology has been on the cusp of mainstream success for some time. But with news last week that the Oculus Rift VR headset is now officially on sale, it looks as though that time is now.
HTC has also announced intentions to release its consumer Vive headset in April 2016, and the gaming industry is undergoing a virtual reality revolution. But we've also been tracking innovative VR tech being developed at a grass-roots level, through Innovate UK projects.
Here’s a handful of these projects, past and present, where SME and academic collaboration is advancing VR technology:
Currently live, the mixed reality project is being completed by cross-platform entertainment start-up Animal Vegetable Mineral. The London-based start-up, which boasts a number of industry experts, has received a £173k grant to develop video and game content that allows viewers to interact in realtime with virtual technology.
This live project is seeing 7 participants working together to ‘overlay and integrate digital data (e.g. CAD, Scans, video) and physical data acquired from sensors (e.g. power usage, temperature) into a virtual reality environment’. The participants, which collectively received £788k in grants, include The University of Warwick, Ford Motor Company, and Essex-based SME Magenta Solution.
Sounding more like something out of a marvel comic than a government funded project, the Pretender is body control suit that provides haptic feedback in a virtual environment. London-based Unit9, a multidisciplinary production company, secured a £92.8k grant to work on the project that culminated in October 2015.
This is the fourth Innovate UK project Morgan Innovation and Technology has completed to date. Back in 2014 the Hampshire-based company received a £100k grant to develop, in conjunction with Southampton University, a multi-sensory system to give users a sense of touch in virtual environments. The product has immediate commercial potential in the gaming sector, but could also be used to provide sensory re-education in healthcare.
Subscribers can enjoy our upcoming insight on VR SMEs, when we’ll be looking at their fundraising history and valuation data. For the latest on fast-growing UK companies, join the Beauhurst Bulletin.
Beauhurst's Innovate UK data, updated regularly by our researchers, details over 9,000 projects and just under 6,500 participants. For academics looking to collaborate with fast-growth companies, Beauhurst Innovate UK data is a great place to start. Find out more here.