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Real Space virtually transforms manufacturing with LCR 4.0

North West-based start-up, Real Space, has revealed plans to bring a virtual reality experience to the Liverpool City Region to its bolster manufacturing offering.

With backing from business support programme, LCR 4.0, Real Space will develop a ‘Single Reality’ optical headset that works by using innovative optical design to change the perceptual information received by the wearer, adding depth of field to a 2D image or video.  

The immersive headset, which will give users a virtual reality experience via a normal device, has potential to benefit many aspects of manufacturing, including detailed inspection of components or reduction of eye strain in certain complicated procedures. 

Through the LCR 4.0 programme, innovation hub, Sensor City has been working with Real Space to provide access to academic and industrial collaboration, as well as the latest technologies. Skills offered by LCR 4.0 have also provided Real Space with a number of computer-aided designs (CADs) which have inspired their own team and will be a valuable asset when looking to leverage additional funding.

Backed by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (now Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, BEIS) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Sensor City is a joint venture between Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Liverpool, and is one of four University Enterprise Zones (UEZs) in the country.

Sensor City will help Real Space to develop the design and aesthetic of its working concept that could lead to a ‘market ready’ design for a number of industries. The design will also be tested and calibrated in Sensor City’s optics lab later in the development process.

Dr Andy Levers, LCR 4.0 technical lead, said: “The innovative ‘Single Reality’ concept that Real Space is developing offers real benefits for the manufacturing sector in the Liverpool City Region, and opens us up to national and international investment and partnerships. Not only that, but it’s a perfect demonstration of how Industry 4.0 technologies can have a real impact on industries, namely manufacturing in this case.

“LCR 4.0 is all about collaboration so it’s great to see our delivery partner, Sensor City, working with Real Space to develop this concept even further using the latest technology.”

Rob Black, CEO of Real Space added: “Since moving into Sensor City and being part of the LCR 4.0 programme, I have been really inspired by not only the investment in facilities, but also the approach to academic and industrial collaboration.

“We now have access to hi-tech equipment meaning we can 3D print our ‘Single Reality’ model in over 20 materials, explore it in virtual reality, project it into context in augmented reality and use remote collaboration to visualise the model. Having road tested this approach with my own company, I unreservedly recommend the project to other early or mid-stage entrepreneurs.”

Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the LCR 4.0 programme is being delivered in partnership by some of the region’s key knowledge and scientific assets: the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre, Liverpool John Moores University (Faculty of Engineering and Technology), the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Hartree Centre, the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LCR LEP) and Sensor City. LCR 4.0 is a part of the Liverpool City Region Local Growth Hub.

Innovate UK: Emerging and Enabling Technologies Round 1 is also backing this concept from Real Space, while Deepbridge Capital LLP has supported with seed funding.