Centre for Creative and Immersive EXtended Reality (CCIXR)
bringing together a full suite of the latest XR technologies under one roof
The Centre for Creative and Immersive Extended Reality (CCIXR) is the UK’s first integrated facility that brings together a full suite of the latest XR technologies under one roof.
Building on our long-standing expertise in creative research and innovation, our world-leading facility places us at the forefront of innovations in the next generation of digital technologies of virtual, augmented and extended realities.
We’re making Extended Reality (XR) more accessible to all. From training solutions to immersive art, we’re supporting others to innovate with XR.
As well as equipping our graduates with highly sought-after skills in a rapidly evolving field, CCIXR provides support for organisations to explore how XR can work for them.
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CCIXR lowers the barrier to entry for businesses who are looking to understand what immersive XR is. It exists to better show what XR can do for a business – and give organisations access to world-leading facilities that would other be out of their reach, or require significant budgets.
There is a critical shortage of digital skills – which CCIXR addresses from a student and industrial perspective – providing access to facilities and technologies, and allowing students to enter the workplace with the skills industry needs in these cutting edge technologies.
Early adoption of nascent XR is already transforming priority sectors, and market analysis demonstrates significant and sustained economic opportunity for its application. CCIXR supports the development and adoption of digital and creative technologies into other priority sectors, expanding and developing the creative/digital sector of the region.
By building on our excellent reputation and record for graduate employability and employment, CCIXR aims to create a step-change in skills training and development, which will in turn support the creation of high-value jobs within the region, and beyond.
What the Centre offers
More about our facilities
Motion Capture is at the core of a large proportion of the CCIXR’s activities, allowing and enabling innovative developments across the Creative Industries and beyond.
In addition to Full Body motion capture, the CCIXR Motion Capture Studio features facilities for Facial and Hand capture (full performance capture), in real-time using multiple tracking solutions (optical and inertial) to cater for a wide range of performance capture.
The large-scale studio also has a viewing gallery to allow easier communication and collaboration, and features optical and inertia based motion capture systems. A variety of tracking solutions are needed for different locations/tasks - and so a balance of passive and active systems are utilised to ensure maximum flexibility for companies and skills acquisition for our students.
The new studio also explores innovative alternative motion capture solutions, which are only currently available in the USA - including electromagnetic motion capture (Sixense). Exploring these options adds further options to the toolkit of resources which we can make available through CCIXR.
Bringing LBE facilities to the Solent region increases the ability for UK based companies to develop for this medium, and enable us to develop the talent pipeline within this area. Location Based experiences are key to the growth of the XR market, as they enable consumers to experience the content, without the need to invest in expensive headsets - due to their multiplayer style, they also offer a way to share the experience. Our current innovation research in partnership with the RSC is another form of Location Based experience, and this facility enables us to develop and innovate for the entire experience. This technology incorporates motion capture (Vicon Origin system or similar), backpack PCs, VR headsets, haptic peripherals, face and hand tracking solutions and development computing. Green screen space has also be incorporated for full mixed-reality tracking.
These facilities will be key to leveraging future funding for research and innovation, enabling the CCIXR to be at the forefront of innovation in this sector. Combining Volumetrics with CCIXR’s photogrammetry and motion capture expertise and facilities means that for the first time all of these options can be used together to achieve ground-breaking results. Establishing volumetric capture facilities in the Solent region creates the UK's first facility outside London.
The photogrammetry system is a metal rig, with a large number of cameras fixed at certain points. All of these cameras are synchronised, so that at the push of one button all the cameras take a photo simultaneously. The rig is calibrated and positioned for detailed facial capture, in addition to an upright person. This enables full body and facial capture, the resulting digital data can then be utilised across the different disciplines and digital applications. Photogrammetry is now widely used by global industry and, this facility will enable us to train a workforce who have the specialist skills that are needed to develop this in the UK. Photogrammetry is a key central resource that will greatly enhance the graphical capabilities of the CCIXR, and will be a very valuable service to industry particularly for games, film, animation, graphics, architecture and marketing. This specialist service is not currently easily available outside of London.
Due to our partnership with Magic Leap, we have the expertise and skills to have developed the first Spatial Computing Lab in the UK. This unique facility is key in enabling creation of spatial computing/mixed reality content and research and innovation in this field. LEP involvement enables the skills development, talent pipeline and further secures this region as a centre of expertise for this emerging technology. UoP has been given early-access developer status by Magic Leap, and as part of that agreement, sustainability of the equipment within this Lab will be ensured, as Magic Leap ensures that headsets are updated with the latest models.
Development bays have been created in order to enable XR technology development and production. LEP support enables CCIXR to have commercial licenses for a proportion of these bays, so that industry collaborators and partners can use these facilities on a short-term project basis. These development bays are equipped with console development kits, VR headsets and other technologies in order to ensure developments can be fully tested on site.
These state-of-the-art facilities include multiple spaces incorporating mixing desks, spatial audio and binaural sound areas, recording studios, musical computing and synthesis. This enables sound and vision to be understood within a context of human interaction and creative coding – ensuring that sound remains central within immersive XR. These facilities support and enable the core strengths within the team in relation to music computing and coding, production and engineering, and composition and performance of sound, and are essential in order to enable skills acquisition and development for sounds XR.
The VR Lab is designed for multiple applications including simulation and training, healthcare and medical, entertainment and media outputs. It incorporates between 4 and 6 degrees of freedom platforms and chairs, haptic devices, mobile development spaces and a virtual production projection mapping system. This also includes VR chairs, allowing new areas of innovation to be supported.
Simulation facilities enable a wide range of industry project applications, in purpose built development facilities, which includes state of the art biometric feedback devices, virtual production facilities, healthcare simulation technologies and cutting-edge XR technologies.
The Mixed Reality Tech Lab provides next generation light projection and mixed reality projection technology to enable interaction with content in real-time. This operates as a smart stage cube system, and will be an invaluable resource to organisations wishing to generate interactive content. This technology is essential to the skills and talent pipeline, as our Industry advice highlights the fact that real-time production skills are in great demand. This technology directly addresses this need.
Working in partnership with the University's innovation spaces, these dedicated CCIXR digital communication facilities, with full Immersive presentation facilities, are bookable by our partners and collaborators. LEP support enables CCIXR to deepen its business support and development offer.
CCIXR also explores immersion of all types, including 360 degree projection and projection mapping.
Collaborate with us
Collaboration has been a cornerstone of CCIXR from the very beginning. A project of this scale and ambition was only ever going to be possible with teamwork, both from within the university and beyond.
If you're interested in working with CCIXR, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Enabling XR Enterprise (eXRe) Project helped more than 100 organisations to find out about XR and experience the technology first-hand through networking events and free workshops. Expert one-to-one support was available for companies to create an XR innovation plan for their business.
Royal Shakespeare Company's Dream - Immersive Theatre Interactive Performance (March 2021)
Utilising CCIXR motion capture technology, computing power and expertise, the future of live technology was explored in Dream, a reimagining of Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Experienced live for 70,000 people, over 10 performances in 151 countries, Dream changed how live performance can be experienced when it is no longer being bound by physical location. Users entered the unreal world of the forest, and met the avatars of Puck, Moth, Mustardseed, Peaseblossom and Cobweb, performed by actors whose movements and facial expressions are rendered onto the characters in real time through motion capture and facial rigging technology.
My Dog Sighs - Inside: We Shelter Here (Immersive Soundscape and Artwork digital capture) (July 2021)
CCIXR collaborated with the international street artist My Dog Sighs to create an immersive soundscape for his first immersive exhibition inside a deserted casino. The project utilised photogrammetry, lidar scanning and Creaform scanners in order to create a 360 degree VR visualisation of the space to preserve it for future outreach and dissemination.
Featuring projections on buildings, huge painted murals, large-scale light installations, dance performances, a light parade, and more, CCIXR was a partner and collaborator for the first-ever immersive light Festival in Portsmouth, bringing together a wide range of artist’s work.
CCIXR provided workshops for local artists to learn how to create digital projections, as well as creating apps, audio trails, and facilitating Thomas Buckley’s light installation of butterflies, which was co-created with the young people of Portsmouth. Children drew their hopes and dreams in the wings of butterflies, which were then animated and brought to life on the side of a building in central Portsmouth.
CCIXR also enabled visually-impaired artist Clarke Reynolds to bring his immersive installation “Too See Stars” to life, and hosted this exhibit within the Eldon Building - welcoming thousands of members of the public into the space to experience the technology and art for themselves.
Outreach - EGX, GamesFest and many more
CCIXR technologies have been fully utilised in order to engage young people, and the local community with the possibilities that are offered by the technologies. The team have developed and built user-friendly demonstrations that are designed for outreach with accessibility in mind. These have already been showcased at EGX in London (2021) and GamesFest in Portsmouth (2022), engaging with thousands of members of the public. Further outreach, in collaboration with our industry partners is planned for the coming months including Comic Con in May 2022.
Novatech, Royal Navy and University of Portsmouth
This third-year undergraduate student project was commissioned by the Royal Navy and Novatech. Its aim was to create a VR simulation tool to support the training for RHIB piloting and navigation. Using a three degrees of freedom (DoF) platform and/or chair the original aim of the project was simply to create a proof of concept. However, these ambitions were significantly surpassed and the project was eventually realised as a full training simulation.
To date, RNR (Royal Navy Reserves) have relied on the right weather and available resources to train their part-time members. These external variables have frustrated training by limiting crucial training required to prepare RNR members for the unpredictable ocean conditions that RHIB coxswains constantly face. This project was able to address this challenge by using a combination of commercially available gaming hardware within training, and has developed into a first-of-its-kind affordable and portable motion simulator. This was developed on a two DoF simulator chair, with a gaming style steering wheel, thruster and Oculus Rift headset.
Following a trial conducted by a Royal Navy coxswain, the motion simulator was deemed a realistic and efficient training sim alternative. However, participant feedback and review led to the development of the simulator from using just a pitch + roll facility, to incorporating heave so as to enhance the reality of the simulated experience. With this addition, the team were able to correctly mimic the ocean’s waves that affect a RHIB in deployment. This VR training tool has been presented at VentureFest South,DSET (Bristol) and in ITECH (Sweden), demonstrating the power of Creative and Immersive technologies within the marine and maritime, and defence sectors.
A Partnership between Worthing Museum, Doye Mosse Productions and University of Portsmouth
Funded by Innovate UK as part of the Audiences of the Future: Design Foundations programme, part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). This project sought to discover how Creative and Immersive XR could be used within a heritage context to design an exhibition which used digital technologies to augment real objects. Faced with the challenge of caretaking often fragile and precious exhibits, museums, galleries and heritage environments are well versed in the need for careful presentation and interpretation of their collections.
Designing Disgust was a proof of concept project that sought to use creative XR technologies to support and enable the story-telling of historical objects which in a contemporary environment and for political or moral reasons, are now viewed as problematic, inappropriate or just plain disgusting. An example of this is a high-style Victorian silk dress which would have entailed the death of over 1300 silkworms in its creation. Using a selection of different Creative and Immersive XR technologies the team created a number of successful proof of concept artefacts, overcoming the perceived challenges associated with exhibition and presentation of these objects.
For this dress, the team created an animated light projection of silkworms cascading down and slowly filling up the dress in order to illustrate and reveal the challenging history that lay behind such an apparently beautiful object and its creation. Audience research shows that the ‘animated’ yet non-invasive augmentation of this object attracted visitor interest and deepened their engagement and understanding of the collection.
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XR and the future of the economy
The UK has a world leading digital economy, is 5th in the global innovation index and currently exports £18 billion in cultural exports. Most recent DCMS data shows the increasing strength of the UK Creative Industries, Digital and Cultural Sectors. Since 2010, Creative Industries in the UK has expanded by over 53%, the Digital Sector by 33% and the Cultural Sector by 38.5%.
The digital technologies of visual and spatial computing develop at considerable pace – and the rapidly emergent and integrated fields of ‘eXtended Reality’ (XR) have yet to fully consolidate in institutional, sector and regional terms. CCIXR aims to capitalise on our longstanding and pioneering research and innovation within these fields, to make Portsmouth and the Solent region a centre of excellence for R&D, innovation and business development for eXtended Reality through visual and spatial computing in the UK. Through CCIXR, our students will have the opportunity to work alongside cross-sectoral industry partners using XR technologies to address real world industry problems.
CCIXR aims to have a significant impact on the productivity of the existing industrial base and other industry sectors such as marine, defence, medical and aerospace that employ creative digital disciplines in their own research and development – and CCIXR will have significant potential to help increase the region’s economy to £50 billion by 2050.
A shared vision - Our funder and partners
CCIXR brought the University together with partners that share a passion to champion technological innovation, help people develop sought-after new skills, create jobs and put Portsmouth and the region on the world map as a leader in the evolution of XR capabilities.
Working with a team of industry-leading technology partners that share our passion for innovation ensures that CCIXR is kitted out with the very latest XR equipment and software, both now and in the future. At the forefront of their respective fields, each one played a key role in bringing the CCIXR team’s ideas to life.
Support from funders
CCIXR was funded by investment from the University and £3.6 million from Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Anne-Marie Mountifield, Chief Executive the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “The creative sector is a significant contributor to both the national and local economy, and, in support of this, the Solent LEP has invested £3.6 million through the Local Growth Deal in this new state-of-the-art centre which will support businesses, create jobs and provide facilities for new learners.
“With its focus on digital skills and technology, CCIXR will ensure our region is at the centre of this exciting and emerging immersive industry – a clear signal that the Solent is home to a world-class talent base and one where the creative industries can grow and thrive.”
Funding from the Government’s £220m UK Community Renewal Fund led to the Enabling XR Enterprise (eXRe) Project. Offering organisations across the region access to free networking events and workshops to explore XR technology, there’s also the opportunity for some to work with CCIXR experts to devise an innovation plan for their new ideas.
Explore the faculty
Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries
Explore the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth – and find out more about the teaching and research activities taking place within our four Schools.