Multi-million pound extended reality centre to be created at ARU Peterborough to offer workplace training

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Centre will simulate various workplace surroundings

A multi-million pound high-tech extended reality centre that will simulate complex workplaces for training is to be built at Peterborough’s university.

Work is already under way to create an eXtended Reality Peterborough (XRP) on the ground floor of ARU Peterborough’s Innovation and Research Centre.

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It will deliver cutting-edge teaching and training facilities for ARU Peterborough students and employers at the university campus off Bishop’s Road.

This image shows some of the uses of the extended reality centre being built at ARU Peterborough.This image shows some of the uses of the extended reality centre being built at ARU Peterborough.
This image shows some of the uses of the extended reality centre being built at ARU Peterborough.

XR technology combines elements of the virtual and the real world to create immersive experiences.

It will allow students and employees to become active participants in simulated workplace environments such as hospital wards, factories, laboratories or workshops.

The state-of-the-art specialist technology allows people to practise and repeat techniques and perfect skills in a safe environment.

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Igloo Vision will be one of the technology providers and describes its large immersive spaces as ‘like stepping inside a giant VR headset.’

The fit-out of the XRP centre is being delivered by Overbury, part of the Morgan Sindall Group.

Professor Ross Renton, Principal of ARU Peterborough, said: “The use of extended reality will continue to grow across different sectors and settings, and we have been quick to adopt this technology, particularly around health education.

"Through the establishment of XRP eXtended Reality Peterborough, students will have access to some of the most impressive learning facilities in the country, and the training opportunities it offers will also be of enormous benefit to local organisations and businesses.”

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Councillor Lynne Ayres, Cabinet Member for Skills, Further and Higher Education and University for Peterborough City Council, said: “Extended or virtual reality is taking the world by storm and many sectors are looking at how they can use it to develop working practices and improve the services they can offer.

"Huge credit to ARU Peterborough for being at the forefront of this technology to give students the chance to take part in simulations of working environments as part of their learning.

"It is incredibly exciting and a further great example of Peterborough leading the way.”

Chair of the Business Board, Al Kingsley, said: “Investing to keep Cambridgeshire and Peterborough a high performing, globally competitive and innovative economy is vital.

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"Part of that is ensuring that both education and business are helped to stay at the forefront of the learning and research that will help our local economy keep up with changing times.

"XR already has many applications and vast potential.

"We invested in this exceptional new Innovation and Research Centre to bring exactly these kinds of technologies and opportunities for education and local business to the campus and city.”

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said: “Creating a Centre of Excellence in some of the most important and pioneering technologies of the 21st century is another fantastic step forward for ARU Peterborough and for the city as whole.

"The vision for the university has always been to mix employment-linked higher education with space for innovation and research and development, benefitting wider businesses and the local economy.”

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The three-storey Innovation and Research Centre has been funded with £13.78 million from the Combined Authority Business Board’s Get Building Fund.

Space is being marketed, with advanced discussions taking place for a high performing research unit to be created on the first floor.