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Arts et Métiers is training the future talents of VR

Étudiant avec un casque de réalité virtuelle

Arts et Métiers is exhibiting at Laval Virtual on April 12-14, 2023.

Crédits photos : CIDJ

Anchored in the French educational landscape since the 18th century, the École Nationale Supérieur des Arts et Métiers offers a curriculum to train future creators of immersive content. The institute is also involved in research and development around virtual reality in many professional sectors, including industry. Arts et Métiers will be exhibiting at Laval Virtual from April 12 to 14, 2023, on booth B9. Interview with Benjamin Poussard, Research Engineer and coordinator of the valorization team.

Can you introduce your company?

Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers (ENSAM) is a higher education engineering school in France. The school has trained over 85,000 engineers since its foundation in 1780 by the Duke of La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, and it remains a prestigious and selective French Grande Ecole. It includes 8 Education and Research Campuses and 3 Institutes across France. Arts et Métiers is a “Public Scientific, Cultural and Professional Institution” (EPSCP) under the authority of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. With 15 research laboratories and 1 PhD program, Arts et Métiers develops teaching and research activities in five strategic fields: future of manufacturing, mobility, energy, health Technology, construction.

At Arts et Métiers, research and industry partners collaborate to develop, implement and evaluate projects and skills to achieve innovative advances in research, applications and technologies in response to rapid technological changes. This approach enables the school to maintain the highest levels of expertise. Furthermore, Arts et Métiers has been involved in multiple European Projects, both as a partner and as a coordinator.

The Laboratoire Angevin de Mécanique Procédés innovation (LAMPA Lab) is engaged in fundamental and applied research in innovation, advanced manufacturing processes and durability. Its Presence & Innovation team, is leading research and development on design and innovation combined with interactive technologies. The two main axes of the team are: Acceleration of the development of tools and methods to co-create and co-evaluate using virtual environments; User Experience Anticipation and analysis of specific approaches for innovation.

AMVALOR is a subsidiary of the Arts et Métiers Institute of Technology (ENSAM), dedicated to innovation and technology transfer. The team involved in the project is composed of software research and development engineers specialised in real-time 3D software programming and computer graphics.

What will you exhibit at Laval Virtual 2023?

We will offer three services: research, training and development. We do not sell products per se but services to companies to contribute to the excellence of applied scientific research in France. For research, we offer collaborative projects and supervision of CIFRE theses. For training, we offer professionalization contracts as part of the Master’s degree in Management of 3D Interactive Technologies (MTI3D) or continuing education. For development, we offer our R&D and engineering services to companies wishing to progress in XR technologies.

We will also show an innovation in the field of product design: through the European project INEDIT, we have developed a set of services exploiting virtual reality to facilitate the creation of custom-made furniture along the entire value chain. The Design Together application will be presented at the show.

Laval Virtual is celebrating its 25th edition this year. Do you have any memories to share since the first edition in 1999?

I remember my first participation as a student in 2012, and winning the Virtual Fantasy Demos trophy. It was a very proud moment for us. That year, Magic Moulla’s show wowed everyone at the Laval Virtual Awards ceremony. It was exceptional!

The world of immersive tech was shaken up by the rise of the Metaverse and virtual worlds. What is your opinion on these?

The Metaverse has become a buzzword in my opinion, even if the original concept is interesting. Some uses of immersive technologies are very relevant, others less so. The risk is to put everything in the same basket. At a time when our planet is in danger, imagining deploying uses that are part of a metaverse approach seems to me to be an important responsibility.

How do you see the VR world in 10 years?

I imagine that the devices will be more miniaturized, more powerful and the content creators will be more powerful too. The deployment in the video game world will have found its audience. The uses in the professional world will be proven. Users will start to want to benefit from experiences or tools using XR at home that can have an impact on daily life. Headsets will have the minimum features for the average person to want to invest in a headset at home, and the uses will multiply. Eyewear with really high value-added features will certainly be adopted, but it’s a long shot to see people on the street wearing them and really using them.

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