Salford students collaborate on Barclays Eagle Labs Virtual Reality Tour Experience Prototype

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Barclays Eagle Labs have partnered with the University of Salford to tackle a VR challenge of replicating a lab in realistic immersive detail, enabling potential and existing businesses to experience what a working Eagle Lab looks and feels like. 

Barclays Eagle Labs VR tour prototype was conceptualised to support existing and future businesses with a way to experience an Eagle Lab without leaving the comfort of their office/home.  Three second year students from the School of Arts, Media & Creative Technology (Glenn Watts, Matthew Harrison, and Thomas Whittle) with support from their Senior Lecturer Dr Juan Hiriart, designed and built the first iteration of the VR prototype.

The concept was designed around 3 goals:

  1. Educate businesses on how Eagle Labs support businesses across the UK
  2. Educate businesses on why ecosystems are important
  3. Educate businesses on the scale of sectors working across Eagle labs

The current prototype focused on the first goal which required the team to replicate an Eagle Lab in high detail with interactive 3D objects and pop ups, navigation, user interface, sound and environment design and AI characters to ensure the user experience replicates the look and feel of a real world Eagle Lab. This is no easy feat to accomplish. 

The purpose of the prototype is not intended to remove real world interactions with an Eagle Lab but provide customers/users with a way to experience and learn more about Eagle Labs without physically having to be there.  It is to experiment to explore and understand what is possible and capable through new technologies such as VR, allowing others to understand what can be achieved in 2021.

Future project developments are still underway with one student, Glenn Watts, now in his 3rd year, with the support of Dr Juan Hiriart Vera.  Glen is continuing to develop the prototype throughout 2021, developing additional functionality focusing on goals 2 & 3 that can be showcased to the public.

Mike Brown, Director of Strategic Industry Partnerships, commented: “During initial discussion with the team at Barclays it quickly became apparent there was a shared vision and the student VR project was both challenging and innovative and would give our students a real-world project they could really get their teeth into.”

The support and feedback from Barclays, throughout the project, has been exceptional and much appreciated by the students and their Lecturer. Building on the success of this project I’m keen to explore other opportunities with Barclays.” 

Digital Media student Glen Watts, added: “The opportunity to work on the Barclays VR project, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic, has been a fantastic way of escaping the reality of lock-down by creating a virtual one. The project enabled me to gain valuable applied knowledge and experience using the latest technology from Oculus with the Quest 2 VR headset and Unity XR pipeline. I’d like to thank Barclays for the great support which helped me understand and capture the ‘clients’ need. With each iteration this project keeps presenting me with new and exciting possibilities; I can’t wait to see the future for both VR and how it is deployed in Barclays.”

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