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Virtual reality, support for everyday life

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Focus on two virtual reality startups, Aurizone and UWTI, that shared interesting insights on the topic during the last “Hacking de l’Hôtel de Ville” in Paris on March 21st.

 

Generally, virtual reality is defined as a set of images and sounds produced by a computer that seem to represent a real place or situation, offering vast innovative potential. Apart from entertainment applications, the technology is used more and more frequently in training and learning scenarios. This includes a range of different sectors from education to healthcare to large corporations. For instance, according to Cyril Courtonne, the founder of Aurizone, virtual reality can change the ways we communicate and interact with each other. Arnaud Le Cat, one of the two founders of UWTI, highlights the mental training potential that the VR environment offers.

A smartphone application dedicated to guiding visually impaired people


Cyril, could you briefly describe Aurizone?

Aurizone is a Parisian startup that offers indoor GPS to guide people in buildings who are blind or visually impaired via a free application launched in 2017, available on Android and iOS. Apart from that, it can also be used by anyone who is easily lost outdoors.


What kind of technology did you use to create this feature?

Thanks to a mesh of small Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) tags and an algorithm of the application, a desired building can be mapped and the user can be geolocated to the nearest meter. In general, it costs €5 - €7 per m2 to equip a building.


Have you already put your idea into practice?

Our solution has recently been chosen to equip the new Palais de Justice (courthouse) in Paris that was inaugurated last April. In total, 150 beacons were used to cover the 15,000 m2 of surface areas open to the public. This project is a wonderful showcase for our startup.


What are the main challenges that you have had to face?

At the moment, the application is suffering from the lack of equipped infrastructures. After a first round of funding of €150,000 last year, our startup is now targeting several millions to fully deploy. By the end of this year, we aim to have equipped a major venue, train stations and two museums to develop audio guides.


What is your development plan?

The technology of indoor geolocation has reached maturity. This lets us develop our first medium-term projects. We’re hoping to equip sixty buildings by 2021.

 

A magic tool to work on your agility far from the screen


Arnaud, could you briefly describe UWTI?

We believe that the best way to learn is through experimentation, and in our case the manipulation of simple and colourful shapes and concepts. So we developed UWTI, a brain teasing puzzle that is constantly being renewed.


What kind of technology did you use to create this feature?

We use digital technologies that enrich the experience and a unique (and secret) intelligent architecture that forms the basic unit of our puzzle.


Have you already put your idea into practice?

We have been working on this project for over one year now and are currently in the process of industrialization. The puzzle will soon be available in pre-order!


What is your development plan?

We want to help all children - aged 7 to 107 - rediscover the process of learning through playing, alone or collaboratively, and especially off the screen. Our product will be launched next Christmas, when it will be available in shops and online.

 

By Corinna Weber and Domenico Allocca, Centrale Supélec students

 

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