UP Faculty of Management has been awarded the ThinkXR project within the Norwegian Financial Mechanism (EEA 2014 -2021), which aims to establish a curriculum and new teaching modules in the field of augmented and virtual reality. The project is led by Prof. Dr. Borut Likar. The project will contribute to better realisation of innovative and cost-competitive solutions through state-of-the-art technological equipment, production of content and services, and provision of user experience. Augmented Reality (XR) technologies represent a new, modern digital and interactive medium and are recognised as one of the key new digital technologies in Europe.
In March 2023, the project partners attended a Science and Technology (Trondheim) event to learn about the XR network (different labs and departments, a wide range of research and applications), attend thematically diverse expert lectures, and experience the practical application of XR technologies in the Vizlab and IMTEL VR labs.
In the spring of 2023, the first training course in Slovenia for future XR trainers (XR Academy) was held at the Slovenian Konjice Secondary School. Participants gained the necessary knowledge to teach the use of XR technologies in education and industry, and to use the Blender and Unity software tools to develop 3D content in virtual and augmented reality. Mentors are thus trained to provide the necessary skills for future careers such as developers of 3D digital twins, Metaverse, video games and virtual and enriched reality applications. Hashnet CEO Tadej Slapnik pointed out that the XR Academy project is still accepting applications from companies and organisations as well as individuals, and that all are welcome to attend future trainings.
In the coming months, pilot trainings on XR technologies will be held in Slovenian schools and companies, where mentors will train students and employees, and XR partnerships will be established.
The project is also linked to the study programmes of UP FM, in particular the postgraduate course Management of Smart Technologies, as well as undergraduate courses related to innovation. The results of the project will contribute to enriching the content and broadening the knowledge of students.
The project has procured several pieces of cutting-edge equipment such as:
- A high-performance computer and a telephone, which are necessary to work with the XR equipment in real time and to enable the full use of other equipment such as:
- 3D virtual reality goggles (Meta Quest Pro), which enable a whole new way of working, creating and collaborating.
- High-end augmented reality glasses (Microsoft Hololens2) to bring 3D objects into the real world. This makes the glasses suitable for 3D visualisation, remote expert applications, simulations and training.
- 360-degree camera (Insta 360 X3 Ultimate ) for capturing XR multimedia content.
- A haptic suit (TactSuit X16) to be worn on the upper body, with 16 vibration points, designed for use in virtual reality and games. The suit connects to a computer or other device via Bluetooth.
- 3D hologram projector (Holo65S). It is equipped with a fast moving fan blade with LED lights to create 3D colour video animation. It displays information 'floating' in the air, allowing a realistic experience without other equipment, e.g. 3D glasses.
All this equipment will be used for demonstration purposes or to familiarise with state-of-the-art technologies. The equipment will also be available for the students' own innovative work, as they will be able to realise their ideas with the help of these technologies. In this way, the students will gain an insight into the technologies, which means that they will acquire additional, up-to-date competences, better interaction between different profiles in business life, as they speak the same language and understand the laws of technology, innovation and business processes from several perspectives. As a result, they are more competitive and better positioned in the market.
The lead partner of the project is the Slovenian Konjice School Center, University of Science and Technology (headed by Jasmina Mihelak Zupančič). The other partners in the project are the Ljubljana Technology Park, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering (UL FE), the Faculty of Management (UP FM), Hashnet d.o.o., Unior d.d. (Zreče) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The project will run from July 2022 until the end of April 2024.
Written by: dr. Peter Štrukelj, prof. dr. Borut Likar, UP FM
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The project Think XR benefits from a € 702.596 grant from Norway. The aim of the project is education - strengthening of human resources with the aim of enhancing human capital. This document was produced with the financial support of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism. University of Primorska is solely responsible for the content of this document and in no case is it considered to reflect the views of the Program Holder Education – strengthening of human resources.