R&D actors in spotlight – Savonia XR-Center
Savonia University of Applied Sciences is one of Finland’s largest and most versatile universities of applied sciences. In addition to its over 7,000 students, Savonia actively serves the local business life and provides its services for research, product development and testing by companies and communities. Its customers’ needs range from the manufacturing of piloting products and prototypes to product research and testing before market entry. Savonia’s facilities have the latest technology and equipment. Most of the premises located on the Microkatu campus in Kuopio are brand new or have been fully renovated in recent years.
XR Center is an XR technology laboratory currently in the design and conceptualisation stage. The laboratory’s service range is developed in collaboration with Savonia’s VirTech project. The aim is to provide companies in the region with the necessary training and expertise related to XR technologies and equipment. VirTech provides training and guidance in XR technology implementation and application.
The project supports the introduction of virtual technology-based models in companies around North Savo representing various industries. The models create new, alternative ways for various processes, such as job orientation, marketing and process control with the help of virtual technology. VirTech is carried out in cooperation with companies from various industries. The goal is to help the companies introduce virtual technology solutions.
The experiences gathered during the projects will be used to create universal operating models that any company can apply in developing their activities. Open and free training provided during the project play a key role in the project activities. The project also provides an opportunity for device testing.
“Various operators from different industries are involved in the project activities, ranging from a small local company to big corporations. During the project, we’ve carried out 360 imaging, remote solutions based on virtual technology and various mobile application pilots.
The Savonia XR Center also utilises robotics, for example in projects related to rehabilitation. The aim of the previously completed HyvinRobo project was to increase knowledge of the use of service robotics to support nursing and familiarisation with the available technology. The project also gathered information about the available technologies (e.g. robotics) utilising artificial intelligence (AI) that are reliable, useful and suit the regional needs and how these can be utilised more comprehensively in the region. One of the project robots, named Pepper, had been programmed to perform dances, break exercises, relaxation sessions and quizzes”, says Kimmo Pakarinen, RDI Specialist at XR Center.
The Savonia XR Center also utilises robotics, for example in rehabilitation projects.
The company has developed a rehabilitation game for patients recovering from a cerebrovascular disorder. The game was created in cooperation with the University of Eastern Finland’s HUMEA laboratory and DigiCenter NS and it included range-of-motion exercises for rehabilitating the upper limbs of cerebrovascular disorder patients. Physiotherapists and rehabilitation clients also participated in planning the exercises. The rehabilitation game consists of three exercises: a throwing accuracy exercise, a ball defence exercise and a cube sorting task.
User testing for various needs
XR Center also provides equipment, application and user testing services. It engages in wide cooperation with organisations from the Kuopio region. The centre’s partners include the University of Eastern Finland and Savo Vocational College.
In the FutureEdu project, Savonia XR Center created training and job orientation environments using VR technology in cooperation with the working life and education. The context of the environments included a bioanalytics lab and perioperative nursing in an operating room.
The aim is to practice a sample reception process in a laboratory environment, starting from an appointment and continuing all the way to a histological section. Users can also select a frozen section reception process in the environment. Meanwhile, the operating room environment is used for preparing the operating room before a patient comes in for a gallbladder operation. The environment can also be used for practising procedures after a patient has come in for a gallbladder operation. The application was produced by a third party.
The VR microscope is an application created as part of a final thesis, implemented in the FutureEdu project to meet the needs of education at the Savonia University of Applied Sciences. The application is used for learning to prepare the microscope for use with the so-called Köhler illumination method.
The XR Center has a gaming area used for testing the VR and XR devices. Gamification is currently popular in many industries, and so are smart glasses, for purposes such as stock management. The facility also provides a setting for various meetings.
XR Center also has a gaming and testing area.
“For example, we can carry out usability testing for various applications here. Whatever your needs or questions, you can contact me directly. We can discuss your company’s needs and we will help you find the optimal techniques, whatever the situation”, Pakarinen says.
Kimmo Pakarinen, RDI Specialist, Healthcare, Savonia University of Applied Sciences: kimmo.pakarinen(at)savonia.fi
Savonia is one of Finland’s biggest and most versatile universities of applied sciences. Savonia’s laboratories are suitable for research, product development and testing by companies and communities. Its customers’ needs range from the manufacturing of piloting products and prototypes, product research and testing before launching products to the market.