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Laval Virtual Europe Rundown

Attendees are currently gathering at the L’Espace Mayenne in Laval, France, for this year’s Laval Virtual Europe conference. Held between the 12th a 14th April this year, the Laval Virtual Europe conference is an international exhibition focused on virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and immersive technologies.

Virtual and augmented reality technologies are key to the realisation of an immersive Metaverse as they provide users the ability the to see virtual, three-dimensional environments and objects.

This year’s event brings together 300 exhibitors and 150 speakers. Exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event include Microsoft’s HoloLens Product Lead Othman Chiheb, HTC Vive’s Reda Ezzaim, Ubisoft’s Director of New Business Mélanie De Riberolles, VINCI Energies Innovation Manager Thomas Leseigneur and Qualcomm’s Jerome Jacqmin and Jean-Baptiste Guignard.

Themes for this year’s conference include health, industry 4.0, and culture, tourism and heritage. Health included work byholo|one the university hospital of Heidelberg, Germany, who are using mixed reality for forensic telemedicine and Simango, who are building a healthcare training centre in the Metaverse, allowing trainees to be trained and certified on a low-risk environment. Culture, tourism and heritage included Holoforge’s Holoportation, which enhances conference calls by capturing attendees three-dimensionally and in real-time.

Key announcements included the European launch of Pico’s Neo 3 headset. Previously unavailable in Europe, Beijing-based Pico Interactive’s standalone VR headset will be available in limited quantities for consumer beta testing in France, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands from May, followed by the UK and Italy in June. Powered by the same Qualcomm XR2 processor as the Meta Quest 2 headset, and with a similar price point of £399, the Neo 3 is a viable competitor to Meta in the relatively unchallenged RV headset market.

Other VR headset companies at this year’s event included Paris-based start-up Lynx, currently the only French company manufacturing virtual and augmented reality headsets. While not currently available to the general public, the Lynx R-1 mixed reality headset is being trialled by surgeons at the Bichat–Claude Bernard Hospital in Paris to superimpose a patient’s medical files onto their field of vision during operations.

This year’s Laval Virtual Awards cover the following categories: Education & Learning Content, Entertainment & Media, Healthcare, Industry, Service, Sports, Virtual Worlds, and VR for a Cause. 2022’s winners were: Alliance POLYAERO’s aeronautic learning project; Delusions JumpersVR, a collaborative virtual reality escape room-esque adventure game; The University of Paris’ DIVA project to improve medical imaging data visualisation, interaction and analysis; IMT Mines Albi’s EGCERSIS crisis management project, Anna Pompermaier’s multi-user extended reality experience, Meet Me Halfway; Holoforge’s Holoportation technology; ICONIK’s King Pong table tennis game; Virbe’s virtual being creation suite, which transforms chatbots into interactive human-like avatars; and Orange/Emissive immersive VR experience, Eternal Notre-Dame, which recreates the Paris cathedral as it was prior to 2019’s devastating fire.

Courtesy of Wix

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