University of Derby and Bloc Digital agree partnership for virtual and augmented reality project

8 November 2019

The University of Derby is to team up with a firm from the city to create a new generation of innovative digital products for industry.

The University and immersive technology company Bloc Digital have agreed a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) which will bring in the skills and know-how needed to help the firm realise their plans for making the next level of technologically-advanced products at a faster rate for clients in sectors including the aerospace, automotive and pharmaceutical industries.

This KTP, co-funded by Innovate UK and Bloc Digital, is the second partnership formed with the company in less than 12 months, combining industrial Augmented Reality (AR) / Virtual Reality (VR) knowledge with cutting edge academic research.

KTP funding has enabled Bloc Digital to collaborate and form a partnership with the University to acquire academic expertise and recruit PhD level researchers (known as Associates) to deliver specific, strategic innovation.

Keith Cox, Director of Bloc Digital, said: “The relationship with the University of Derby and support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnership has been invaluable in ensuring Bloc stays at the forefront of the market. The KTP projects have significantly improved our productivity and our ability to meet our customer’s needs and the demands of the market in general.”

Associates recruited under the KTP scheme have industrial experience and expertise within the necessary disciplines; in this instance computing science, model driven engineering and information management. The Associates will be working under the supervision of Frank McQuade, Director of Capability at Bloc Digital. 

Academics from the University are using the KTP to develop the next generation of VR/AR enabled teaching to students at the university.

Professor Ashiq Anjum, Director of the Data Science Research Centre at the University of Derby says "The project with Bloc Digital will open doors for the next generation of engineering design, data visualisations and analytics. Users will be able to capture data and intelligently produce system designs and training manuals in almost real time, leading to significant savings in time and cost.”

The University and Bloc Digital believe the project has the potential to put the company, and the UK, at the forefront of the VR and AR digital revolution. 

Dr Amanda Baxendale, Head of Research & Innovation Services at the University of Derby, said: “The concepts and innovations are unique to the sector, so through this, the market will see significant reductions in the time and cost to deliver VR training applications.”

Find out more about Knowledge Transfer Partnership opportunities

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