Walton Institute at South East Technological University (SETU) was delighted to host the inaugural SETU Extended Reality (XR) Industry Showcase this week at ArcLabs Research and Innovation Centre in Carriganore, Waterford.

Industry representatives from across the South East attended the event which offered a unique opportunity to explore the future of technology and its potential for business with SETU’s XR experts.

XR is helping companies reach new heights; increasing productivity, improving customer experience and engagement, reducing operational costs and inspiring creativity.   This cutting-edge interactive event showcased the limitless possibilities of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) as we merge both ‘real’ and virtual worlds.

Researchers and innovators from SETU, Walton Institute, Design+, engCORE, AMASE, IMI4, SABRE, SeerLab and compuCORE were on hand throughout the morning providing live hands-on, technical demonstrations including: immersive tourism experiences; VR and forest bathing; gamification and MR; virtual digital twins and more. While a number of insightful workshops provided an understanding of the practical applications of XR across a variety of industries.

“Extended Reality is driving technological innovations that are empowering industries to revolutionise the way they visualize, design, and interact with environments for improved productivity and innovation,” explained Dr Frances Cleary, Head of the Mobile Ecosystem and Pervasive Sensing Division at Walton Institute. “This showcase brought businesses in the South East together with a selection of SETU’s XR specialists to see just how this technology can be utilised and the substantial benefits it can bring.”
As part of the event, attendees were provided with a special tour of Walton Institute’s MR and Digital Photogrammetry Labs. Funded by the Enterprise Ireland Capital Call, the MR Lab features state-of-the-art Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology; while the Digital Photogrammetry Unit consists of a Botscan NEO 3D, a 3D scanner solution for high volume full body scans, and a Teslasuit, which is a full body haptic feedback and motion-capture tracking VR suit.

The ICS Technology Gateway team at Walton Institute were also available to discuss funding opportunities for businesses interested in investigating this technology further. “We have an extensive and unique range of state of the art XR equipment here in Walton Institute, with new Holographic technology arriving later this year,” said Liam Fitzgerald ICS Technology Gateway Manager.  He added, “The ICS Technology Gateway can help businesses, large and small, to access funding through support agencies like Enterprise Ireland, IDA and others, allowing you to explore what advantages XR technologies could bring to your business. This funding can typically range from €5,000 to €200,000 depending on the company profile, so there are significant opportunities available.” 

According to industry sources[1], the global XR market was valued at USD $131.54 billion in 2023, is projected be worth $183.96 billion in 2024 to and to grow to $1,706.96 billion by 2032. It is clear the wealth of knowledge, skills and facilities available at SETU could help businesses in the South East capitalize on this growing technology and gain a valuable competitive edge now and in the future.