European Space Agency's Call for Tender: Virtual and Augmented Reality Kick-Start

Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies are an emerging market and offer a range of new visualisation capabilities allowing to present content in a more descriptive way and to have a more intuitive interaction with it compared to traditional screen based applications. Virtual reality solutions have been growing rapidly outside of the traditional heartland of entertainment and form an exciting presence in many different sectors. By superimposing digital information directly on real objects, environments and maps, Augmented Reality allows people to process the digital and physical information simultaneously, improving their ability to absorb information, make decisions and execute the tasks quickly.
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Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies are an emerging market and offer a range of new visualisation capabilities allowing to present content in a more descriptive way and to have a more intuitive interaction with it compared to traditional screen based applications. Virtual reality solutions have been growing rapidly outside of the traditional heartland of entertainment and form an exciting presence in many different sectors. By superimposing digital information directly on real objects, environments and maps, Augmented Reality allows people to process the digital and physical information simultaneously, improving their ability to absorb information, make decisions and execute the tasks quickly.

Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies combined with imagery and information processed from Earth Observation satellites, the geo-localisation capabilities from Navigation Satellites e.g. for mobile devices, and a mix of communication technologies including Satellite Communications are considered as appealing for identification and definition of attractive business and consumer applications and services.

The Kick-start Activity proposed must demonstrate the application of space-based data and technology:

  • Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO): enables global collection of data for production of images, maps, information e.g. to recreate the remote environment, or to provide relevant parameters into the VR/AR environment.
  • Satellite Navigation (SatNav): enables precise positioning and guidance of the user and any type of objects in the VR/AR environment.
  • Satellite Communication (SatCom): provides connectivity for any data and information services whenever terrestrial communication is not reliable enough or absent at all.
  • 5G Networks: including a mix of terrestrial and satellite components will have a key role in the future for delivering the high amount of data required, eventually also in real time.

TOPICS OF RELEVANCE

  • VR/AR services for Businesses. Location-Based Augmented Reality allows to overlay digitized information on physical places or objects.Applications utilizing this technology allow recognizing and retrieving the location of a cellular device along with the acquired data. By offering these solutions, companies can engage the customer’s visual senses e.g. in a far improved and highly immersive shopping experience. Other application domains include the real estate market, infrastructure planning and construction, etc.
  • VR/AR services for Operations in remote environments. Applications of VR/AR technologies in operations scenarios can be applied to any industrial sector. Expensive manufacturing of  mock-ups could be superseded by using virtual models in an interactive VR environment instead. Substantial savings can be obtained by sparing on maintenance costs through improved effectiveness of maintenance operations.
  • VR/AR applications in Healthcare/Telemedicine. Virtual Reality in healthcare is a growing sector. One of the biggest challenge is the fusion of telemedicine and VR/AR technologies for tele-surgery where surgeons and patient are in different locations. Combination of advanced technologies for precisely tracking of surgeon movement, a realistic and real time VR/AR environment display for the physicians and telecommunication capabilities to transmit the data between two remote locations, are required to accomplish successfully such applications. In other medical situations e.g. emergency situations or remote sites, non-clinicians can receive via VR/AR experts direct support for required procedures.
  • VR/AR services for Tourism and Cultural Heritage. Interesting applications can be found in travel agencies which are starting to use augmented reality technology for visualisation of destinations and activities before and during travel. In this way, the traveller can experience interesting places in a more meaningful way with digital overlays containing interactive information about the culture or history of the site. In the world of Cultural Heritage, applications include virtual reconstructions of sites with the relocation of environment and objects.
  • VR/AR services for Training. A favourable application domain for VR/AR technologies are training scenarios in all kinds of market segments, where VR/AR can assist workers to recognize equipment and provide guidance through step-by-step diagnostics. Such immersive training will result in an increase of the safety for workers through better training/guidance during operations. 
  • VR/AR applications for Education. Business areas pertaining to education are likely to be the most affected by an increased influx of VR/AR technologies. With the use of VR/AR environments, classrooms can get real-life simulations with immersive surroundings. VR/AR can provide teachers everything they need to take their students on field trips which teachers would ordinarily never be able to take their students on, for example to an underwater coral reef.
WEBINARS: 10 January 2019 14:00 GMT / 15:00 Central European Time (CET) (approx. 1hr)
 
Dateline for submission: 25 February 2019
 
Source: European Space Agency

Illustration Photo: Commercial Crew Astronaut Mike Hopkins practices spacewalking in the Virtual Reality Lab at Johnson Space Center in Houston. The training provides real-time graphics and motion simulators to replicate the space environment. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is working with Boeing and SpaceX to return human spaceflight launches to the United States in 2019. Hopkins is assigned to SpaceX’s first operational mission after the company’s test flight with crew. (credits: NASA / James Blair / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

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