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CityX: ideas into action

Immersive technology

Visualising the impact of future developments on our urban landscape is possible via a Catapult collaboration with Igloo Vision. Businesses can use the Igloo Cylinder, or work with us on other virtual reality ideas that create growth opportunities for UK companies.

Immersive technologies could help people to visualise cities as they change by showing how planning and infrastructure designs will alter the urban environment.

At the Catapult, we’ve worked with our partner Igloo Vision to showcase the potential of immersive virtual reality to wide group of stakeholders. It provides businesses with a physical environment in which to showcase and test their VR designs.

The Igloo is available to businesses who want bigger groups to experience their prototypes in urban settings. If you’re interested in hiring the Igloo Cylinder to develop or demonstrate a prototype or would like to use it for project workshops or collaborations, email us.

We’re looking to catalyse and grow the global market for virtual and extended reality technologies by working with innovative UK companies in this field. Get in touch if you have a prototype or idea.

Q&A: The Evolution of the Igloo Cylinder

What is Igloo?

Igloo is an immersive virtual reality cylinder — compared to “stepping inside a giant VR headset”. It offers businesses a new way to visually communicate their offering to clients and wider audiences as a shared experience. It is a unique way of seeing designs, prototypes and more come to life, offering a completely new understanding of creative projects.

Currently it shows a 360 degree model of London, accurate to 15 centimetres. This provides a platform for business to promote technology and planning solutions which could help solve real city challenges. It uses CAD model fly-throughs and data visualisations so that multiple partners can experience yet-to-be built developments together.

How was it created?

Igloo immersive products was established in 2007 by Igloo Vision, a UK SME which has built its own V3 360 Immersive technology. The Catapult entered into a 3-month partnership with Igloo Vision, and hosted the cylinder at our Urban Innovation Centre (UIC) to help UK businesses and academics to showcase and test their products and services in a central London location.

Why did the Catapult want to collaborate with Igloo?

Since we hosted Igloo at the Urban Innovation Centre it has become a tool to foster wider engagement and convene stakeholders who are exploring how VR technology could help address city challenges. People who have engaged with Igloo so far include designers, architects, city planners, local authorities, SMEs, large businesses and academics. We want to keep the lines of communication open so that we can continue to help UK businesses develop new products and services and bring them to market.

Why is the Future Cities Catapult interested in immersive technologies, and how do we understand what the possibilities might be?

We believe immersive technologies could play a role in supporting the development of our cities in the future. Immersive technology has the opportunity for stakeholders to make better informed decisions and engage citizens, whether that is around digitising the planning system, designing city infrastructure or for training purposes.

We want to play play a vital role in showcasing and sharing VR solutions, and are keen to engage with potential partners. We want to find out what support and investments we could make in this area to facilitate knowledge exchange between universities, businesses and the private sector to help develop advanced urban services.

How can we work with you to make this possible?

We would like city planners to get in touch to find out more about how this technology could become a tool for planning activities. We also want businesses to use it to showcase their prototypes and the Igloo cylinder is available for hire for anyone who wishes to access it for dedicated project workshops or collaborations.

To find out more about what the shared VR experience could offer or to book in, contact our Events team.

What else is going on?

We have a number of projects in development to improve digital planning. Take a look also at Growthplanner, FuturePlan, Tombolo and the Future of Planning. The Catapult also invested in UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) to help them build the Virtual London platform, ViLo.

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