To lead EU research into eXtended Reality (XR)

EXTENDED REALITY: USN will lead a prestigious project with a number of international partners. Professors Rosemarie Bernabe (from left) and Rigmor Baraas will coordinate the project together. (Photo: Stuart Gilson).
EXTENDED REALITY: USN will lead a prestigious project with a number of international partners. Professors Rosemarie Bernabe (from left) and Rigmor Baraas will coordinate the project together. (Photo: Stuart Gilson).

The University of South-Eastern Norway will be heading a new EU project where the aim is to prepare Europe for eXtended Reality (XR).


XR4HUMAN was recently awarded EUR 2.5 million in Horizon Europe, the world’s largest research and innovation programme. 

Along with 11 partners USN will assess the challenges and opportunities as a consequence of eXtended Reality being adopted in constantly new areas of society.

“The European XR industry, consumers, legislators and academia need to be sufficiently aware of the opportunities, benefits and risks of XR technology. We will help Europe manage this technology in a good way,” say professors Rigmor Baraas and Rosemarie Bernabe, who will coordinate the project together.

They are also heading USN’s research group I-Merse, where this project is based.

In just a few years eXtended Reality (XR) has gone from being the preserve of researchers in labs to becoming a common consumer product. There are many obvious benefits to this technology, but it also harbours new challenges and a new type of risk.

Changes the way we live

This applies not least to ethics, security, privacy and use across different operating systems. It is in these areas, among others, that XR4HUMAN will make a contribution.

“This technology changes the way we live. It’s about how we absorb information and what we do with this information. It’s also about how we communicate with one another, how we learn, work, act and play. Many things will be affected by this, when doing this in an extended and not just physical reality,” Baraas and Bernabe say.

“At the same time that commercial development has accelerated, we lack knowledge on which forms of eXtended Reality will impact us in different phases of life. This could vary depending on whether we are children, adolescents, adults, elderly, female or male and whether we have a functional disability,” the researchers say.

 

WILL HEAD A LARGE EU PROJECT: The professors from left: Rigmor Baraas and Rosemarie Bernabe will coordinate XR4HUMAN, this first project headed by USN in Horizon Europe. (Photo: USN/Private)

“How can we best develop and use this technology to maximise the benefits and minimise the negative effects,” Baraas and Bernabe ask. And the answers are intended to be provided by the project:

  • A goal is to develop common guidelines that make it easier for European businesses and authorities to manage XR.
  • Another goal is to develop online tools that both businesses and authorities can use.
  • The project will also create a ranking system and teaching materials to make it easier for consumers to select the best solutions and products.
  • The project will also impact businesses and other stakeholders, including through a digital European forum for dialogue around the use of XR.

 

EU-flag

 

This project has received funds from the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon Europe under Grant Agreement no 101070155.

This is the first project USN is heading in Horizon Europe, the EU’s ninth framework programme that started 1 January 2021. Horizon Europe is a continuation of Horizon 2020.

About the research project:

Project title: 
«The Equitable, Inclusive, and Human-Centered XR Project (XR4Human)»

Project manager: 
The University of South-Eastern Norway (USN)

Funding:
Allocated EUR 2.5 million from Horizon Europe, of which EUR 400,000 to USN

Duration:

1. November 2022 - 31. October 2025

Partners: 

A total of 12 universities and business clusters across the world, including the University of South-East Norway (USN). 

  • University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) (Coordinating Institution) NO
  • XR4Europe (XR4Europe) BE
  • University of Oslo (UiO) NO
  • National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) GR
  • National University of Science and Technology (NTNU) NO
  • Leiden University (LU) NL
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) DE
  • Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) NO
  • Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz-Institute (HHI) DE
  • OpenAR Cloud Europe (OARC) DE
  • University of Leeds (UoL) UK
  • Fontys University (FU) NL

Description:

  • The project will develop European standards for XR, that will contribute to an ethical and human-centric development of hardware and software.
  • XR4HUMAN will make it easier for European citizens and public institutions to make good choices in connection with XR.
  • The goal is to build a strong and competitive ecosystem around this technology for European trade and industry, but in a manner that creates trust among users and authorities.

About Horizon Europe

  • The world's largest research and innovation programme, with a budget of EUR 95.5 billion.
  • 35 per cent of the budget must be used for climate change purposes to achieve the green transformation and sustainable value creation for enterprises, research institutions and public administration.
  • An important innovation is the introduction of ambitious “missions” as a means of resolving selected major challenges in society.
  • Commenced 1 January 2021 and is an extension of Horizon 2020. 
  • USN is also heading the research project Enhance, which is a part of Horizon 2020.