The EU is supporting innovation in XR technology with €5.6 million through the EMIL programme

– European Media and Immersion Lab project presented at the 27th FMX – Film and Media Exchange Conference in Stuttgart

This article is available in English.

EMIL (which stands for European Media and Immersion Laboratory) is a joint project of four European academic institutions, each of which is an important center for innovative technologies. The Federation has Aalto University In Helsinki and Espoo (Finland), The Film Academy Baden-Württemberg In Ludwigsburg (Germany), The Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona (Spain) and University of Bath (UK).

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Each has specific expertise in the field of XR. Bath, for example, excels in the development of medical applications, while Barcelona focuses more on cultural heritage, Aalto University specializes in smart clothing, and Ludwigsburg University’s strengths, known for film studies, are in storytelling and animation. EMIL’s mission is to support young innovators, start-ups, researchers and academics and accelerate developments in the field of XR, taking an interdisciplinary approach.

EMIL was launched in September 2022 as a pilot project for 30 months. The European Union is funding 5.6 million euros for third-party projects. The amount will be used for a total of 14 to 18 projects, which will be selected in two phases. The first application period ends at the end of January and the second at the end of June. As with the first round of applications, successful projects will be announced in May and work will begin in the summer. Any individual or affiliate based in Europe is eligible to participate. Each founding organization will follow the plans closely, and contribute parts of their facilities and their knowledge.

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A minimum of €250,000 per project will be funded, but up to €500,000. „It’s more than what one would normally expect,” he says Professor Volker Helsle Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. „Also, companies can help with equipment and guidance at no charge.” These costs are covered by the EU with a co-funding of around €400,000 for each company.

In order for XR technology to accelerate, all projects must already be at a certain level of technology readiness, namely at stage 4, Helsle explains. „It’s not about research starting from scratch, but it’s about innovation.” It is about putting knowledge into service by creating applications. Projects can focus on a wide range of outputs and touch every aspect of our economic, social and artistic reality. „XR has a huge area of ​​potential application,” Helsle recalls. „That could be new applications for medical treatment, for example. It would contribute to a more sustainable use of our resources.

This is also where Filmacademy sees one of its biggest talents. In the film industry, XR has long been seen as an exotic technology, but the company has been pushing for its use and development for decades. It was a success domestically, and the Filmakademie has gained an international reputation for its use of innovative technology in filmmaking or VFX and animation. But it doesn’t stop at the level of content creation: “We want to promote the understanding that these technologies have a greater, wider application. „Creative industries still have to contribute,” Helsle says, „for example, as mentioned earlier, when it comes to sustainability.”

The key word is virtual manufacturing. At the heart of the EMIL project is the hope that the energy requirements of film production can be improved: for example, up to two-thirds of the energy costs of a production can be saved when it comes to visual effects or animation. When you are well prepared. But being more efficient means that the quality level is not automatically the same. Solutions can be found when working to innovate XR technology. „Addressing all kinds of challenges that have a significant long-term impact,” says Helzl, was his motivation for getting involved with the project.

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Find more information about the project Here.

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