"To achieve great things in XR, it is necessary to share knowledge and expertise"
Highlights of National XR Day
The first National XR Day was organised by SURF and TU Delft Library on 5 July. More than 220 visitors interacted and discovered what eXtended Reality (XR) can bring to education and research. They were introduced to the latest XR developments, interesting XR applications and the technology behind XR.
An eye-opener for XR applications
National XR Day was a real eye-opener to the possibilities that exist in XR. Many people associate XR technologies with home-gaming or an escape into artificial worlds, but the XR Day showed many great applications of the technology. Speakers presented their work within a wide range of applications and fields, such as education, healthcare and culture. "The lightning talk session was a unique moment in the programme for researchers and XR users from different fields to share their XR experiences with users from other fields. When it comes to inspiring unconventional thinking and applications in the world of XR, the lightning talk session was the perfect example of this" says Barry Fitzgerald, host of the XR event.
New implementations of XR
The National XR Day began and ended with two engaging and informative keynotes that complemented each other well. Keynote Esther Mertens on 'Why you should meet your future self'. And Joris Weijdom on 'Collaborative design in and for XR - why we should bodystorm in public virtual spaces'. Bodystorming is a form of brainstorming where participants use their bodies to gain new insights and experiences.
Both keynotes showed new implementations of XR in different areas and showed the wider audience where XR can lead in developing interventions and using XR in public virtual spaces. Both also stressed the importance of collaboration in XR. "To achieve great things in XR, it is necessary to share knowledge and expertise. For those just starting out in the field of XR, this is an important message," Barry Fitzgerald said.
"The XR day shows that there is a great need for knowledge exchange and provides a good basis for the next step in collaboration."
That cooperation is important is also recognised by Esther van der Linde, of Npuls. The XR day showed that a lot is going on in the XR field within both education and research. But most applications are still being developed individually and are made for specific applications. "Too much is still happening in isolation. The XR day shows that there is much need for knowledge exchange and provides a good basis for the next step in cooperation. There are some great examples of cooperation across institutions and disciplines, but in this we can really take another step together. Let's work together more to achieve even better results," says Esther.
Learning is doing
Keynote Joris Weijdom also emphasised it in his presentation, 'learning is doing'. Start experimenting. People working with XR know this better than anyone else. It was therefore very busy at the demos and workshops. There were many opportunities to experiment with XR applications, try out different glasses and experience all the XR examples and applications. "You can see that on a day like this, people are looking to experience XR in the form of demos and the workshops. XR is something to actively engage with" says Esther van der Linde, Npuls.
Mix of different disciplines and fields
As Barry wandered around the event on 5 July, he noticed something very important. This meeting was different from conferences he has attended before. "I have a physics background and in the past I have attended conferences where only physicists attended. At National XR Day, all participants had XR in common, but the participants worked within different disciplines and had different backgrounds. During lunch, I had a conversation about XR with a medical researcher and an earth science researcher, who shared their XR experiences. In my experience, this is unique" he says.
Month of XR
The developments of XR within education and research are moving at breakneck speed. That is why in the month of September we pay extra attention to the possibilities of XR (virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality). Keep an eye on this page for the latest updates. Follow the page https://www.surf.nl/en/xr for the latest updates.