UNB News
News and stories from one of Canada’s top universities

Research partners SPECTRAL and Kognitiv Spark combine to become innovators in mixed reality

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Nov 21, 2022

Category: UNB Saint John , UNB Fredericton

The University of New Brunswick (UNB) is advancing immersive technology research thanks to partnerships with local industry. The result is a pipeline where students receive hands-on training within a top mixed reality (MR) research lab and collaborate with an industry-leading MR company.

The Spatial Computing Training and Research Lab (SPECTRAL) is an applied research outfit under the direction of UNB professor Dr. Scott Bateman. SPECTRAL works with partner companies like Kognitiv Spark on the cutting edge of spatial computing and MR.

By using MR experts can share knowledge and provide real-time instruction using virtual tools. Unlike tools in a physical space, the tools in MR have limitless potential for sharing detailed instructions on how to complete a task.

“An example of real-time instruction is providing healthcare at home,” Bateman said. “A patient can perform the motions in real time that are captured in 3D, allowing them to receive guidance for rehab exercises in their home from a physiotherapist. Additionally, using MR goggles allows us to create the illusion that the physiotherapist is standing right in the room with the patient.”

Building a vibrant research lab like SPECTRAL and supporting industry partners like Kognitiv Spark requires exceptional people. Currently, three former UNB students from the SPECTRAL Lab are members of the Kognitiv Spark development team, working on real-world software solutions. Students will graduate with training in MR and virtual reality (VR) research, which is a highly specialized field.

SPECTRAL research and development (R&D) benefits for Kognitiv Spark

Since the commercialization of VR technology, UNB has sought to deepen knowledge about MR and VR tech applications. This has supported the growth of high economic impact businesses in New Brunswick, leading industrial and public sector partners in the adoption of this leap ahead technology.

“The partnership with UNB and SPECTRAL is not just a benefit for Kognitiv Spark. The capabilities that we collaborate on are critical for the development of long-term impact from the technology that we are able to commercialize in a global market. What is truly exciting is the way in which we are partnered to address fundamental issues in society, including support to rural and disadvantaged communities, regardless of location,” said Duncan McSporran, Chief Operations Officer and VP Defence and Public Sector at Kognitiv Spark.

SPECTRAL has received comprehensive start-up funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency providing access to resources they might not otherwise be able to acquire. Kognitiv Spark has further collaborated with SPECTRAL on research funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF).

“Working with Kognitiv Spark, we can test new tools for training people remotely using leading mixed-reality devices like the Microsoft HoloLens,” Bateman said. “We are providing world-class opportunities in New Brunswick.”

Ideas are nurtured, cultivated, and grown at UNB. When organizations like SPECTRAL and Kognitiv Spark work together, students are provided with opportunities to advance their careers, both at the local and global level.

About UNB

The University of New Brunswick (UNB) is Canada's oldest English-language university, and New Brunswick’s only national comprehensive university. Founded in 1785, the multi-campus institution has a rich history as well as a dynamic focus on innovation, experiential learning and entrepreneurship. UNB has more than 9,500 students from nearly 75 countries while several thousand more take UNB courses online and at partner institutions around the world.

About Kognitiv Spark

Kognitiv Spark is a Canadian headquartered tech company and Microsoft MRPP gold partner recognized for its competency in the secure, reliable, and network agnostic applications of Mixed Reality for remote support.

Its flagship product, RemoteSpark is an industrial and defence platform that allows a remote worker to establish a low-bandwidth, secure audio-video call with a subject matter expert when they need help solving a complex problem.

RemoteSpark can facilitate the transfer of photos, files (PDFs), and multi-step 3D animated holograms. The tech company was founded in 2016 and supports a global footprint of clients and partners operating in manufacturing, energy, defence, public-sector, marine, and other industrial sectors.

Media contacts