On 12 July 2019, as part of a £6.5 million Research England project, the South West Creative Technology Network Immersion Showcase celebrated the work of a diverse array of creative practitioners, including cutting edge prototypes, that harness the enormous potential of immersive technologies in the creation of new products and experiences.
Taking place at Watershed in Bristol, a cohort of writers, artists, academics, theatre makers, games designers, dancers and coders presented bold new thinking in the rapidly expanding area of immersion and looked beyond the constraints of the sector to imagine future possibilities in a day of debate, networking, exhibition and discussion.
Jon Dovey, SWCTN Project Director, says, “Immersion is a slippery process. Right now, it’s one of those creative ideas that means different things to everyone. Over the past year, we’ve challenged our brilliant cohort of Immersion Fellows and Prototype Teams to come up with expansive new ideas and explore the challenges and opportunities afforded by the potential of immersive technology.
“While significant investment is currently being made in this area, we wanted to inspire fresh interdisciplinary thinking to make the South West an engine for original and experimental forms of immersive innovation.”
Audiences were invited to take the first look and test the new SWCTN Immersion Prototypes. These early stage prototypes aim to create ambitious immersive experiences which help users see, feel and think differently, and help connect us to one another.
Baby BSL: Where is the Bird? | VIKA Books
The first Augmented Reality book combining illustrations, videos, print and smartphone tech to inspire families to use British Sign Language (BSL) with their children. Where is the Bird? addresses the lack of intuitive teaching assets for hearing families and empowers parents to learn to sign at home. When activated with the free smartphone app, the book ‘wakes’ AR animations and mixed reality (MR) videos creating an immersive multimedia storybook. Created in collaboration with BDH Immersive & illustrator Jasmine Thompson.
Technie Acceleration Tools | Triangular Pixels
Created by multi award-winning games developers Triangular Pixels,Technie Acceleration Tools is a collection of developer tools set to make a big noise in the VR games and VR industry. The tools allow content to be made faster and more efficiently, and also for players to adapt immersive VR content to their individual preferences, needs and where it’s being played. At the Showcase the audience will be able to play through some demo content created by the tools to see how it adapts to the space it’s played in and some of the first accessibility features to be implemented.
Earthsongs | Mitch Turnball
Created by an award-winning natural history & conservation filmmaker Mitch Turnball, Earthsongs inspires players to connect with the natural world in a new and intuitive way via a mixed reality experience designed for the Magic Leap One headset. Players explore wild soundscapes from around the world and discover the beauty and importance of wild sounds to our cultural heritage and wellbeing.
Realtime Stagemaker Toolkit | ANAGRAM
The Realtime Stagemaker Toolkit, is a pioneering system created by multi-award winning female-led creative company, ANAGRAM which allows all members of a team creating virtual reality content – from the director to the composer – to manipulate assets in real time from within the virtual world, something not currently possible.
AudioWAVE | Squidsoup
Created by renowned arts collective Squidsoup, AudioWAVE is a flexible, easy to install spatialised immersive audio system for use in theatres, galleries and other social spaces. The system can comprise any number of units, each wirelessly connected and sufficiently intelligent to know what to play and when. The system will self-calibrate, and simple software will position sounds dynamically, on the fly and in real time. Created in collaboration with UWE Foundry Studios and Net Sensors Ltd.
Renaissance | Ben Dunks
An immersive falls prevention programme created by dance artist and trainer Ben Dunks and designed for vulnerable older people living in sheltered accommodation. For use by Housing Association carers via an interactive platform, at its heart Renaissance is a movement programme that aims to fundamentally change the health of all who use it as well as decreasing their chances of falling. Created in collaboration with Emma McFarland, Digital and Innovation producer & Christopher Hunt, Creative Technologist and Digital Artist
Shared Pasts: Decoding Complexity | Coral Manton
Using augmented reality technology as a mechanism to reveal layers of complex narratives around historic artefacts held in museums, galleries and renowned landmarks, Shared Pasts: Decoding Complexity provides a 360-degree view of the past revealing the complexity surrounding cultural collections. Providing alternative and often conflicting viewpoints and perspectives, the app will challenge audiences potential bias and illustrate how ‘meaning-making’ is dependent on the lens through which history is viewed. Created with Chris Hunt director of Controlled Frenzy.
TacTiles | Dr Nick Inoue & Rowan James
An innovative project to bring Inclusivity to live performance for disabled and non-disabled people, TacTiles aim to create a unique experience to allow bass-rich music to be felt by diverse audiences, as part of an exhilarating, accessible, performance space that will enable an entirely new form of artistic expression: the haptic DJ. Created in partnership with SubStrike® The South West Creative Technology Network is funded by Research England and led by University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), in partnership with Watershed in Bristol, Kaleider in Exeter, Bath Spa University, the University of Plymouth and Falmouth University.