Ireland’s foray into the Metaverse begins in Athlone

Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) embarks on €9m exploration of the Metaverse.

A €9m project aiming to transform the news media and arts sectors through the creation of social extended reality experiences is to get underway at the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) in Athlone this October.

TRANSMIXR, which is funded by Horizon Europe and led by TUS, brings together researchers, design partners and media companies from 19 countries with the goal of creating human-centric tools for remote content production and consumption.

“TRANSMIXR will ignite the immersive media sector by enabling new narrative visions”

With the maturity of extended reality (XR) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, a unique window of opportunity for the European creative and cultural sector (CCS) exists to reimagine digital co-creation, interaction and engagement possibilities.

Suspend your reality

Three men wearing VR goggles.

Dr Niall Murray, TRANSMIXR project coordinator, and Dr Conor Keighrey of TUS, showcase a Metaverse type simulated environment where VR users can meet, interact, and participate in shared activities using social VR. Photo credit: Nathan Cafolla

The TRANSMIXR platform aims to provide a distributed XR creation environment that supports remote collaboration practices, and an XR media experience environment for the delivery and consumption of evocative and immersive media experiences.

Project coordinator Dr Niall Murray, who is based in TUS’s Athlone campus and is an investigator in the SFI Adapt Centre, says TRANSMIXR will “ignite the immersive media sector by enabling new narrative visions.

“TRANSMIXR is a very exciting project that will create a suite of user-centric technologies to support the creation, consumption and understanding of new media experiences in distributed, collaborative and immersive ways. Underpinned by the convergence of AI and XR, the design of these new systems will be informed by and be evaluated with real end users,” Dr Murray explained.

“A key strength of the TRANSMIXR consortium is its interdisciplinary nature, bringing complementary technical, methodological and domain expertise together to create impactful solutions for the creative and culture sectors.”

Ground-breaking AI techniques for the understanding and processing of complex media content will enable the reuse of heterogeneous assets across immersive content delivery platforms.

Using the Living Labs methodology, TRANSMIXR will develop and evaluate four pilots that bring the vision of future media experiences to life in four important CCS domains: news media, broadcasting, performing arts, and cultural heritage.

Explaining further, Dr Conor Keighrey, an immersive technology researcher at TUS’s Athlone campus, said: “In addition to our role as coordinator, TUS will further develop our research on extended reality (XR) for the TRANSMIXR distributed creation environments as well as working on the creation of human centric AI for XR audience understanding.”

The TRANSMIXR project, which is expected to run for three years, will hold its kick-off meeting October 25 and 26 in Athlone, Ireland.

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