The Universitat Politècnica de València, through its VRAIN Institute, is one of the partners of IV4XR (Intelligent Verification/Validation for Extended Reality Based Systems), an international project whose main objective is to guarantee the quality of Extended Reality (XR) software and applications.
XR encompasses augmented and mixed virtual reality; they are advanced interactive systems, in which the physical barrier with the user is eliminated and whose applications are multiple, from entertainment - two paradigmatic examples would be the games Pokemon Go or Star Wars: Squadrons - to virtual worlds/metaverse, training astronauts or medical personnel to learn how to operate, industrial manufacturing or shopping applications, among many others.
According to Beatriz Marín, researcher at the UPV's VRAIN Institute, there is a fundamental aspect to XR systems: it is necessary to ensure that all the components of these virtual worlds run correctly, so that users can enjoy the best immersive and interactive experience, without any failure occurring during the execution of the programme or game. This requires powerful testing tools, which do not exist today.
"In the industry, XR developers face a challenge today: XR is very complex and the interaction with the user is almost unpredictable; the level of interactivity and realism of these systems is increasing, which makes them very difficult and expensive to test. Normally, the evaluation and analysis of these systems is done manually, with tools that only work for simple test scenarios. Thus, our goal is to automate this analysis, with an advanced testing tool that can respond to these challenges and help ensure the best possible user experience," says Beatriz Marín. Together with her, the VRAIN team in this European project is made up of Tanja Vos -principal researcher at the UPV in IV4XR-, Fernando Pastor and Borja Davó.
The IV4XR platform is based on Artificial Intelligence techniques and offers an advanced tool to automatically evaluate and explore all the parameters/agents of the virtual worlds created by the XR developers. In addition, it also includes socio-emotional AI techniques for test agents to evaluate the quality of the user experience.
"IV4XR allows testing with three levels of agents: exploratory, socioemotional and functional goals. The platform is in charge of delivering the instructions to the agents for testing. The developer can create an interface with the framework of his application and, with this, carry out the testing automatically. At the end of the testing process, the platform provides the results of each of the agents, so that developers can correct possible failures before the XR system/programme reaches the market,' says Beatriz Marín.
The IV4XR project is led by the Institute of Systems and Computer Engineering of Portugal and also involves the University of Utrecht (The Netherlands), the Bruno Kessler Foundation (Italy), Gameware Europe (UK), Goodai Research Sro (Czech Republic), Thales Six GTS (France), Thales AVS (France) and the University of Umea (Sweden).
Funded by the European Union's H2020 programme, the project will be completed by the end of this year.