XR2 Industry (Tailoring eXtended Reality to Industry's Needs), the continental consortium coordinated by the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), aims to boost the European technological ecosystem to reduce the current hegemony of Asia and the United States. The consortium is working to create a European Extended Reality (XR) reference platform by developing a new version of the Lynx-R1, the first European Extended Reality helmet to compete with helmets from companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Meta.
The three-year project brings together LabLENI UPV and 7 other members of recognised international prestige in the field: SupportSquare (Belgium), Altheria Solutions (Belgium), Flux50 (Belgium), Funding Box Accelerator (Poland), TKorp (France) and Linder and Maoui Law Firm (Belgium).
In terms of objectives, the XR2 Industry is scaled in 3 stages. The first is the hardware enhancement of the future version of the Lynx-R1 helmet. Secondly, the development of an XR software platform adapted to the needs of developers, research and industry. Thirdly, the development of projects and use cases of relevance for the future European XR hegemony.
These stages are being implemented through a cascading funding scheme involving the launch of calls for projects to which both companies and research centres can apply.
In addition to coordinating the overall project, LabLENI UPV's work in the project includes measuring the impact of the new version of the helmet on workers in Industry 5.0 and evaluating its acceptance and integration into industrial processes.
To complete the project, Mariano Alcañiz, director of LabLENI UPV, stresses several relevant aspects of the XR2 Industry that are in the hands of the UPV.
"One of them," explains Alcañiz, "is to monitor and provide appropriate cognitive and physical ergonomics for all the mixed reality applications, an aspect not often given the attention it deserves. To achieve applications that allow me to interact in different ways with the physical world, with voice, with gestures, and with my gaze, there must be no interference at the level of vision or gesture. This is crucial if we want mixed reality to become mainstream so that smart glasses become part of our everyday lives, as has happened with smartwatches.
Regarding cost reduction, Alcañiz points out that "it has been amply demonstrated that when Mixed Reality is used in production lines, production costs are lower and quality is higher. This has been attested by our projects at LabLENI with Forvia, Stadler, etc.".
Even though the project is "in principle very focused on Industry 5.0", its dimension and scope transcend this field. "It has been shown that mixed reality can be used for training, production... Our initial field is industrial, but XR has many applications. At the surgical level, we are already considering an application project for surgical planning and guidance in real-time using mixed reality. This technology also has impact applications in other sectors, such as tourism, which is very important for Spain.
Funded with more than 9 million euros, XR2 Industry is part of Horizon Europe, the European Union's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (R&I) for the period 2021-2027.