ST Engineering Antycip helps level up academic research with Europe’s first Infinadeck

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Revolutionising Immersive Research

ST Engineering Antycip provided the first omnidirectional XR treadmill, Infinadeck, inspired by Hollywood blockbuster Ready Player One, to the University of Liverpool’s VEC.

ST Engineering Antycip, Europe’s leading provider of virtual reality solutions, provided and installed the first Infinadeck treadmill in the United Kingdom at the University of Liverpool’s Daresbury facility.

VEC (Virtual Engineering Centre), from the University of Liverpool, has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to establish the UK’s first National Centre for Digital Heritage (CDH). The project seeks to develop a cutting-edge solution that enables users to move freely and naturally within expansive virtual spaces without being confined by the boundaries of their real-world environment. This innovative approach promises to offer an unparalleled level of immersion and accessibility, allowing for the exploration of digital heritage sites in a manner that was previously unimaginable.

Rising to the challenge, ST Engineering Antycip recommended an omnidirectional XR treadmill, Infinadeck, as the ideal system. Inspired by the blockbuster Ready Player One, the Infinadeck treadmill has evolved from its Hollywood origins to become a real-life product that now integrates into commercial spaces. This technology aligned perfectly with the VEC’s needs, offering a dynamic and unconstrained platform, enabling users to explore virtual environments.

“By enabling users to walk naturally in any direction, Infinadeck creates a genuine sense of being inside the digital world. This ‘Dynamic Presence’, as we call it, elevates the engagement, evocativeness and emotional connection experienced by users within the immersive environment. Compatible with VR headsets, projection domes, immersive LED displays, or standalone use, Infinadeck provides the optimum solution for incorporating physical movement into training simulations or gamified environments, ” says Phil Martin, chief revenue officer at Infinadeck.

“VEC has always been an early adopter of technology, having embraced leading edge solutions like the 360Hz multi-view stereo projection system that we installed more than a year ago at their Digital Innovation Facility (DIF),” says John Mould, commercial development manager at ST Engineering Antycip. “Having seen an online demonstration by Infinadeck and ST Engineering Antycip, VEC took the leap of faith to invest in this device to enhance their capabilities for future projects.”

The Infinadeck platform provides a unique solution to develop applications where natural interaction from the immersed participant can be achieved by simply allowing them to walk and explore the virtual worlds and environments their teams are developing.

VEC uses the Infinadeck as a doorway to research and virtual adventures, currently focusing on uncovering how buildings and architectural styles have changed over time. Konstantin Vikhorev, chief technology officer at VEC, highlights the importance of the research: “It’s very fascinating to virtually recreate a medieval building and witness its evolution and how it’s been built. In those times, education was primarily overseen by masters without many universities and schools. This adds an interesting layer to the study, analysing the diverse architectural styles originating from different locations and time periods, providing us with unique historical insights.”

Another way VEC uses Infinadeck is by creating virtual museum experiences that allow participants to virtually explore paintings and “touch” statues. “We’ve been experimenting with the treadmill speed, prioritising the health and safety of users who are unfamiliar with this kind of equipment. By reducing speed, we’ve ensured that even those new to the technology can feel comfortable and safe enough to walk on it,” explains Vikhorev.

“ST Engineering Antycip is always striving to bring the latest technologies to our clients who wish to interact with their virtual worlds and content, having a long history of providing immersive display solutions that are custom developed,” says Mould. “It is fabulous to see a technology that has been born literally from the science fiction of a Hollywood blockbuster movie and delivered in reality.”