Mixed Reality HydroSpark Project
The HypdroSpark project will secure ocean’s data visualization and collaboration solution to support training, mission planning, and operations in ocean, defence and other marine industries
On June 10, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announced four new projects with a total value of over $3.5 million, including the HydroSpark project. This New Brunswick led project will focus on emerging mixed reality technologies to develop a secure ocean data visualization and collaboration application using the Microsoft HoloLens 2 and Microsoft Azure Mixed Reality Services. This application will visualize underwater environments in 3D mixed reality to support training, mission planning and rehearsal, and support defence and other marine sector underwater operations.
Mixed Reality is a technological capability that enables the visualization of data in a user’s real-world environment. This project aims to increase collaboration, efficiency, and task preparation for various subsea operations by delivering accurate holograms of oceans environments and points of interests to divers, ROV operators and subsea workers. Through project HydroSpark, workers will be able to gain advanced and intuitively understood insight into underwater tasks delivered through mixed reality maximizing the benefit of next-generation ocean imaging and mapping technologies.
This project will also seek to better understand the digital skill sets required to support the ‘Ocean Worker of the Future’ along with the education and training provision required to deliver training in the Atlantic Region.
This cutting-edge project brings together a collaborative partnership between two innovative Atlantic Canadian companies, NB-based Kognitiv Spark and NL-and-NS-based Kraken Robotics, with world leading applied research teams at the University of New Brunswick and workplace skills specialists at New Brunswick Community College.
With a total project value of more than $850 thousand, the Ocean Supercluster will provide close to $400 thousand in funding, with the balance of funding coming from project partners.
The project seeks to establish a technological foothold in defence and commercial ocean sectors and tap into three overlapping global markets – mixed reality, Internet of Things (IoT)/Sensor data, and sonar systems that are all projected to grow significantly over the next five years. This project will create up to five new full-time positions with the potential for more than 25 indirect jobs upon commercial success.
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is an industry-led transformative cluster focused on tackling the shared challenges across ocean sectors through a collaborative program designed to accelerate the development and commercialization of globally relevant solutions, while also building a highly-capable, inclusive workforce. To encourage innovation and trigger new industry investment during these challenging times, the Ocean Supercluster supplemented its core programs with an additional project stream called Accelerated Ocean Solutions Program (AOSP). This enables the development of smaller projects on a shorter timeline that deliver tangible outcomes, while continuing to build resiliency in our ocean sectors.
About Kognitiv Spark
Kognitiv Spark is a Fredericton, New Brunswick-based 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-grade 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, Microsoft Office documents), and multi-step 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.
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
“Canada’s oceans, the bounty in their waters and the riches within them have created prosperity for generations of Canadians. Our people have expertise now that can take on the world. So, let’s take it on.” – The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources
“Three years ago, the government selected Canada’s five superclusters to accelerate innovation in areas of competitive advantage for Canada, including the ocean economy. We have seen unprecedented momentum from the superclusters, with hundreds of projects approved and thousands of jobs created. As Canada looks to grow its sustainable blue economy, the work the Ocean Supercluster is doing to advance our ocean industries is more valuable than ever.” – The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“The HydroSpark project is an exciting Atlantic Canadian collaboration that will deliver a 3D Mixed Reality solution to increase collaboration, efficiency and preparation for ocean activity including training, mission planning and rehearsal, and defence. This is a New Brunswick-led project that is bringing together academic and industry partners across the region to build an advanced ocean solution and contribute to our growing ocean economy.” – Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
“Kognitiv Spark is looking forward to working with our partners and the Ocean Supercluster on this next-generation Mixed Reality capability for sectors reliant on ocean’s data. By using Mixed Reality to explore subsea data in new ways, divers, ROV pilots and subsea workers can essentially walk on the seabed and examine points of interest to more intuitively understand their tasks before they conduct them.” – Yan Simard, CEO, Kognitiv Spark
“Modern ocean mapping data is inherently 3D, but we consistently represent it in two dimensions via tablets, computers and even annotations on charts. This project aims to bring this data into the real world with Mixed Reality. By presenting this critical data in spatially accurate Mixed Reality, HydroSpark aims to augment decision making and mission preparation. In this way sub-sea operators will be able to fully visualize a task before they commence operations in what are typically highly complex and safety critical industries.” – Duncan McSporran, COO and VP of Aerospace and Defence, Kognitiv Spark
“Kraken Robotic Systems Inc. is excited to collaborate on the Hydrospark Project being led by Kognitiv Spark. We believe that Kognitiv’s vision of creating a Mixed Reality by merging real-world subsea environments with virtual environments will help Kraken provide clients with subsea datasets that will allow them to see and interact with subsea environments like never before. Integrating Kognitiv’s Mixed Reality Solution with our world-leading Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS) technology will significantly enhance an end-users experience while viewing seabed survey data.” – David Shea, Senior Vice President, Engineering, Kraken Robotic Systems Inc.
“This exciting project builds on our long-standing research relationship between UNB and Kognitiv Spark. I’m eager to bring our Human-Computer Interaction Lab’s growing expertise in augmented and mixed reality to the table, and to be joined by my colleague, Dr. Ian Church, and his deep knowledge of ocean mapping. Together, we’ll be able to leverage these different specializations for a common goal, while also growing our own understandings.” – Dr. Scott Bateman, UNB associate professor of computer science and co-director of the UNB Human-Computer Interaction Lab
“NBCC is pleased to leverage its research capacity for this important global initiative that will help map the ocean floor. This is a unique opportunity for our students to work directly on an innovative mixed reality solution that will further enhance our research development.” – Mary Butler, President and CEO of NBCC