Over 30 projects have been awarded a share of the £1m Audience of the Future: Design Foundations Fund.
Each project will focus on human-centred design, to create new immersive experiences, products and services. They will use customer research to generate ideas, and create and test low-cost prototypes and the best ideas will progress to further technical research and development (R&D).
The successful projects are part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s Audience of the Future programme, which is delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Through this programme, government is supporting the best UK storytellers to create engaging immersive experiences.
Successful projects include:
The neurological and physiological effects of colour variation in an immersive environment
The Blueprint (Group) Limited
This project involves rigorous primary customer research and medical/clinical expertise to understand the impact of different creative choices involving colour on the neurological and physical effects of immersive experiences, using chronic pain sufferers as an ‘extreme case’. It aims to explore the effects on humans of different aspects of the virtual environment and apply this knowledge to real content.
Generating, propelling & compelling VR content: a user-centred feasibility study
Studio GO GO Ltd
This feasibility phase is a critical step in launching Studio GO GO in their mission to deliver thrill ride experiences straight to your VR headset. It plans to start their thrill ride revolution on the playground equipment of your parks and in the backyards of your homes. And to do this, they need to learn from you – their potential riders and users.
The Feelies Ltd & University of Sussex
An investigation into the design foundations of a groundbreaking new type of scent delivery for immersive experiences, with minimal lingering and equipment, and greater flexibility than existing methods. The development will be centred around the learnings, practice, problems and needs of the creators of those immersive experiences.
The house of alternate realities
House of Alternate Realities Ltd
This project utilises user-centred design techniques to investigate how to deliver immersive digital POV documentaries (as a case study) that could conquer even a traditionalist audience. It will deliver vital insights into their motivations, perceptions and behaviour and be an opportunity to learn how to best deliver new forms of immersive interactive digital narrative to the UK television audience.
The distance between us
AKA Media Ltd
This project will research how interactive storytelling in VR can be used to foster understanding and common ground between people who hold opposing views. Their experiments will allow them to develop deep insights about their target audience, and design a narrative journey that strengthens software development of the experience.
BBSign: The use of AR + MR to teach Baby Sign Language to deaf and hearing pre-schoolers
Vika Books Ltd and Burrell Durrent Hifle Design & Direction Ltd BBSign, British Baby Sign, is a high-quality AR storybook using a combination of smartphones, printed and kinaesthetic products to teach baby sign language to pre-verbal children (under 3) and their parents. By combining AR, MR (video and audio) with print and textiles, BBSign uses characters and simple narratives to create an interactive illustrated children’s pop-up-style story and communications aid.
Immersive broadcast content experience for inclusive audiences
Open Inclusion Ltd, Brunel University London and Channel 4
This feasibility project is to investigate the potential for publicly broadcast content to be more inclusive and better appreciated by audiences with specific access needs, including sensory, physical and cognitive impairments/disabilities and advanced age, through the use of immersive technologies.
The realm: immersive entropy
Tengio Ltd and University of the Arts London
Co-created by users, The Realm aims to engage audiences through generative art and immersive technologies. Each ‘player’ observes, interacts and affects collective motion from within a dynamic virtual environment, where multiple biologically inspired ‘agents’ reside. Players feel their way intuitively, gradually evolving a language of social interaction through experimentation in gesture, sound and social cues. Individual interactions will affect collective actions, enabling the player to orchestrate a swarm, drive a herd or attract a colony.
The astonishing visit
As our population ages, more of us will spend time in places that are not our homes. We risk greater levels of loneliness, which we know can have devastating health effects. Families love immersive film, but when it’s shared they yearn for it to be personal. Something they create, not just consume. This project will discover the perceptions and behaviours around immersive film among families and the behaviours around sharing them with loved ones in long-term care.
ALIVEmusic – augmented live music performance using immersive visualiation and emotion
Sensing Feeling Ltd, Fracture Games Ltd and Queeen Mary University of London
The ALIVEmusic project investigates how live music performances can be enhanced in meaningful ways by Mixed Reality leveraging musical expression and emotional analytics based on Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. We adopt a participatory design approach to better understand the needs and expectations of audiences and performers in our digital age and instigate content-driven solutions boosting audience engagement.
Tangio Ltd and Gravity Sketch Ltd
While VR headset technologies are pushing boundaries in improving resolution and normalising user experience, its controlling technologies have been seemingly left behind. VR controllers are big, heavy and reliant on buttons and switches. Project EETE aims to solve this user pain point by developing a unique hand-held controller. The project consortium includes Gravity Sketch, a software company offering a 3D sketching solution, and TG0 a hardware start-up specialising in a touch-sensitive material technology.
Creating an accessible immersive virtual reality experience of Mail Rail
Postal Heritage Trust and Scanlab Projects Ltd
The Postal Museum’s standout attraction is the Mail Rail Ride. However, this experience is not fully accessible to many visitors with physical disabilities or claustrophobia, sensory disabilities or epilepsy. This project will explore a new approach and method to immersive virtual reality experiences in the cultural sector which is specifically for people with disabilities.
Virtually together: shared VR experiences
Live Cinema Ltd and Igloo Vision Ltd
This project will explore the potential for ‘shared VR’ experiences which retain the collective experience of watching a moving image whilst incorporating new content, specifically 360 degree video, through a 6 month feasibility study, defining the needs of audiences and cultural organisations and developing possible technological, cultural and financial solutions.
XR audience centred design: the future of immersive theatre
Limbik Ltd and University of Portsmouth
Fatherland XR brings together live theatre performance with cutting-edge digital technology – blurring the barrier between reality and virtual reality. For the first time, in a theatre setting, a whole audience can enjoy a virtual reality experience at the same time – without the need for everyone to wear a headset. By putting the audience at the heart of the design, we now want to continue to push the boundaries of technology – asking what our audience would like next, and how we can design the experience to best suit them.
The bang immersive experience
Hidden Narratives Ltd
This project will explore formats that unites TV fiction, immersive technology, immersive theatre and gaming. The sit back viewers will become the main protagonists, seeking to solve the mystery set out by a custom-made narrative for the experience. The aim is to blur the boundaries between the real and the virtual, fiction and fact-based puzzles – to create an innovative, immersive fiction experience for British TV brands.
‘Virtual sites’ for site specific heatre
Marmelo Ltd and Dante or Die Theatre Ltd
This project aims to take recent innovations that allow for effective AR via computer vision techniques on consumer-level hardware (e.g. Apple and Android devices) to bring site-specific theatre to new audiences. Marmelo and Dante or Die Theatre will design and develop a short prototype of an existing site-specific performance in a format that can be ‘played back’ via a smartphone or VR headset, essentially bringing the site, as well as the performance, to the user. This will be a rare investigation into creating a truly hybrid environment. In doing so, we think there is the potential to create an entirely new artform – and one with significant commercial and artistic potential.
Virtual reality in education: exploring risk-taking behaviours and prevention
Round Midnight Ltd and Burrell Durrant Hifle Design & Direction Ltd
This is an early stage research and development programme that aims to educate young people on risk-taking behaviours using state-of-the-art VR technology and drama techniques. It aims to create a new and innovative way of learning that allows young people to experience replications of real life scenarios through the use of Virtual Reality. This platform will encourage young people to practice critical thinking, decision making and understanding the consequences of their actions when faced with difficult situations.
Research study to prototype and test the efficacy of data-driven AR content creation in relation to human emotion and social impact
Go Jauntly Ltd
This feasibility study will include a series of experiments to help us to explore how technology can steer human behaviour and how it shapes our relationship with nature, particularly in children. This will involve tests to see how families interact with different features in different settings and with different mindsets. The findings will help us to understand whether AR can support adults and children alike in their appreciation of the environment, interpretation and its effects on nature and biodiversity.
Agile in buildings (AnB)
Ollio The Building Performance Consultancy and Playwerks Ltd
This project will bring together experts in the field immersive reality and the built environment to work with potential business users of buildings, allowing them to experience their building before they buy, as a prototyped product, to provide feedback, to check day-in-the-life realities. In effect, design is done with users rather than to users.
Goonhilly Earth Station: space on Earth
Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd and Falmouth University
This feasibility study will test out the capacity of immersive technology to create a space simulator that provides a visceral experience of being in space and in so doing helps communicate the fragility of our own planet and our place in the universe. It will explore design, technical, communication capacities of immersive experiences in a museum and industrial context. It will also consider delivery in a deeply rural setting and involve a wide range of audiences.
Emotion sensing for improved content creation and personalised immersive experiences
Communication platforms have transitioned from a one-to-many structure (broadcast media) to a one-to-one interaction. Understanding the user’s emotions and behaviour is an essential goal for experience designers and content developers, as it offers insight into the user’s satisfaction and overall interaction with the immersive experiences. This project will explore the potential of real-time emotion recognition technologies for VR/MR by using biosensors to capture implicit emotional responses especially designed for use in VR settings.
Augmented reality applied to 3D printed heritage objects
ThinkSee3D Ltd make realistic replica museum objects and statues using 3D printing. This project will allow those objects to come to life by projecting animated and interactive content onto them either via an AR mobile app or by using video projected content that maps onto the objects surface. For example, a statue of an Egyptian god could look as if it were actually speaking and could tell different stories depending on the person’s preferences, age or disability.
Enter the experience
Cute Circuit Ltd
‘Enter The Experience’ is a next-generation multi-sensory entertainment platform for wide-area narrative experiences. This novel AR/VR system combines exclusive patented 3D-audio technology with award-winning real-time haptic sensations in a wearable interface. The garment is created using the latest advancements in smart textiles which allow it to be constructed entirely without wires making it lightweight and more natural feeling on the body of the wearer. By stimulating multiple senses in real-time with the perceived narrative events ‘Enter The Experience’ creates deeper and more captivating immersive environments.
Underwater photogrammetry for immersive audience experiences
Safeguard Nautica Ltd and Core Blue Ltd
A six-month feasibility study to explore and optimise the use of photogrammetry in the underwater environment to create synthetic environments based on the real-world with unprecedented photo-realistic detail. These outputs may be used with Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies to transform how people can interact with, and experience underwater environments such as coral reefs and marine archaeological sites.
Using 3D printed objects
Llama Digital Limited and Playwerks Ltd
Imagine a treasure hunt in which you are searching for actual objects that can be used to unlock clues, or a model of character that you carry around the museum with you to reveal content from that character’s perspective. This project will explore low cost methods of bridging the gap between the physical space of the museum and its exhibits, and the digital realm. It will create physical objects and ‘stations’ that visitors can interact with. By using NFC chips embedded in 3D printed models the objects can trigger digital content on phones or fixed screens.
Using virtual reality to bring real change in attitudes towards people with schizophrenia
Mindwave Ventures Ltd
It is widely known that people with mental health difficulties experience discrimination, disadvantage and prejudice in our society. However, recently there is an increasing understanding of the importance of changing this status quo. Mindwave Venture’s vision is to help change attitudes towards people with mental illness with the use of cutting edge technology. It aims to use the medium of virtual reality (VR) to improve empathy and attitudes towards people suffering from schizophrenia.
LIME – Live Immersive Music Experiences
LIME is a feasibility study to enable Mativision to research next-generation immersive experiences from live music and live performances and the ways such immersive experiences can be distributed and viewed by the target audiences live (at the time of the event) but remotely away from the event)
Designing disgust: why do we feel the need to judge?
Doye Mosse Productions Ltd, University of Portsmouth, Worthing Museum and Art Gallery
The project aims to take Disgust, as it relates to Worthing Museum and Art Gallery’s current collection, and discover how a visitor would like to experience this collection. In this way the visitor becomes part of the process for designing the exhibition that they would like to visit, rather than being led by museum professionals or a technological perspective.
Liminal materials: The Cloud Project
Squidsoup.org Ltd and University of Plymouth
The Cloud Project seeks to use smoke/mist/fog/clouds to create highly immersive, social, walkthrough and responsive experiences to great effect. A controllable cloud form can be used in a range of ways. It can be a presence itself within immersive experiences, but also as part of a range of multimedia approaches; combined with lights (LEDs, lasers), used as a moving projection surface to simulate 2D or 3D visuals, or shot through with lasers; used to mask or frame physical architecture.
Furtherafield.org, The Audience Agency Services Ltd and Wolf in Motion Ltd
Immersive models can be used as a tool for engagement through co-design, to discover how the council, park stakeholders including nearby property developers, and park users imagine its future and their involvement with it. Placemaking is recognised as a core part of regeneration, requiring a foundation of strong partnerships cutting across the public and private sectors, where social, cultural and ‘natural’ capital interleave to create stronger bonds and local identity. This project aims to co-design an immersive platform to facilitate the co-design of development in and around public spaces.
Eyes free: my ears onto here – sonic augmented reality
RPPTV Limited and University of Surrey
This project will use human-centred design processes to inform the optimum use of audio augmented reality in the creative industries for a new service that anchors audio content where it is relevant to be consumed, a location, map, text, or a picture. Publishing, advertising and tourism will be the target sectors in this design project.
Find out more
Interested in finding out more about any of these projects? Download the Innovate UK Results of Competition document