Nine trailblazing companies are awarded £50,000 in funding to shape the future of tech.

Digital Catapult.

“This new MyWorld cohort is tackling a multitude of the most pressing challenges and opportunities currently facing the sector. The UK’s creative industries lead the world, and the South West has some of the best creative minds in the country. We’re thrilled to be working alongside NVIDIA, strengthening our existing relationship by introducing them to the region’s top talent - and working together to achieve an innovative future for media. The combination of NVIDIA and their toolset in collaboration with these exciting businesses is going to produce some super-intriguing new experiences.”
Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult

From AR for architecture to haptic shoes, nine trailblazing companies have been awarded £50,000 MyWorld funding as part of the Challenge Call ‘Catalysts and Connectors: Tools for the Creative Industries’ led by Digital Catapult in collaboration with NVIDIA.

Each project will be set to address either NVIDIA’s industry challenge or the open challenge, which explores innovative tooling solutions relating to the creation, delivery and assessment of experiences. 

The challenge teams will also benefit from a 16-week support programme delivered by Digital Catapult, with NVIDIA. 

The nine companies selected to take part in the programme are:  

NVIDIA Challenge Projects

AI Toolsets for VFX: Lux Aeterna 

Using generative AI (Stable Diffusion) with 3D VFX tools, Lux Aeterna is creating a malleable exchange between these two worlds that can be applied to a wide range of use cases to provide a new way to generate and improve assets, and achieve unique visuals to enhance and extend VFX and CGI capabilities. Developing a toolkit of AI models designed to be used in many different processes across VFX work, Lux Aeterna will also develop and document the techniques and processes involved to use these models effectively.

TLG: Black Laboratory

The award winning animation, prosthetics and puppetry studio, Black Laboratory will create a system combining the very best performance opportunities of live puppeteering and animatronics with the possibilities offered by digital animation and motion capture. The work aims to combine the benefits of both physical and digital characters, allowing performances by skilled puppeteers to be captured, edited, enhanced and applied to a far greater range of characters and media, beyond the limitations of physical spaces.

IMPRESS Launchpad: Force of Habit 

IMPRESS Launchpad is a machine learning-assisted gaming influencer discovery and outreach tool, empowering SME (“indie”) game development studios to reach larger audiences. It is a video game marketing technology which will help studios gain insights into content-creators, influencers and market data, and will offer further frictionless workflows to assist in reaching niche/segmented gaming audiences.

“Active Agent” NPC Tooling: Meaning Machine 

Active Agent” NPC Tooling, helps developers move away from rigid, pre-defined in-game characters (NPCs) and towards the concept of “Active Agents” – who can engage in freeform, improvised conversations that are meaningful to every player’s playthrough. This will enable non playable in-game characters to converse with players in a way that is freeform and tightly tied to the wider in-game context. The possibility of having non-linear dialogue will allow indie developers to enrich their game worlds, improve accessibility and players can immerse themselves in open world dynamics with narrative rich content.

Enhancing Safety and Creativity in AGITO Operations: A Centralized Software Control and Sensor Integration’:Motion Impossible

A software tool that is able to record and repeat dynamic camera movements for the AGITO platform, scalable across multiple units. This software tool can be accessed on various devices, allowing multiple AGITO camera systems to be controlled from one central point without needing a separate remote control for each camera. The detection of objects and the first person monitor view provides added safety measures for camera operators as well as allowing them to assess the condition of the cameras when they cannot see them directly.

Open Challenge Projects

Feel, Learn, Do: Anagram

Anagram will create a prototype of Feel Learn Do; an application consisting of a unique suite of technical tools that monitor, log, aggregate and translate a user’s physiological and behavioural data during their experience of a piece of narrative VR or MR. Feel Learn Do will initially be used in conjunction with Goliath: Playing With Reality; Anagram’s multi award-winning VR experience about schizophrenia, gaming and connection. The application will support a reflective learning session that will be used with healthcare professionals to support greater understanding of the lived experience of mental health conditions.  Anagram will specifically examine the different data sets that can be used and ways in which representing the emotional map of the experience to bring new and valuable insights to learners.

Otto: Larkhall

Led by contemporary musician (Charlie Robert Williams), Larkhall will create a prototype system which supports real-time immersive visual-media solutions for the performing arts. This tool will encompass 3 elements of visual 2D projections, venue lighting systems and immersive lighting poles, which will allow artists to have more control over their performance. In maximising the immersive capabilities of lighting and project technology, Larkhall aims to enhance the experience for performers and audiences.

Feel sound. Anytime, anywhere with GroundWaves haptic shoes: Groundwaves

GroundWaves is developing an innovative haptic calibration tool that enables an enhanced haptic experience, whether experiencing a hybrid live-music event, or a game. The project involves designing the embedded hardware and a user-driven app required for haptic calibration. The tool will be integrated into GroundWaves haptic sneakers, which will transform the way people consume music and other collective experiences, through virtual and augmented reality.

Future Places Toolkit: Zubr VR (in partnership with Uninvited Guests)

Leading XR studio, Zubr, in partnership with Uninvited Guests, will develop their AR Future Places Toolkit for use in participatory architectural design and creative consultation, which can be applied at several stages of the planning process. The toolkit enables live AR drawings, 3D models, and plans to be seen overlaid onto existing buildings, allowing discussions with communities and stakeholders to take place in-situ/where a development is proposed. Architects and their clients could share their designs sooner, engaging the community directly to achieve wider dissemination and better feedback. Communities will benefit by participating in the planning process in a considerably more meaningful way, through digitally dissecting, amending, feeding back, counter-proposing and ultimately endorsing plans.

For full details on each of the projects please see the funded projects webpage. 

Discover more about Digital Catapult and NVIDIA’s partnership and how their collaboration is shaping the future of technology over on Digital Catapult’s website.