Modifying a virtual environment in just a few clicks

A voxel-based, high-potential technology.


Imverse, an EPFL spin-off team, has developed a new software through which it is easier to create and modify a virtual reality environment. This new Imverse technology works much like a photo editor.

It is a three-dimensional rendering engine based on 3D pixels called voxels. The rendering engine can be used for other virtual reality applications as well, such as depicting real people.

Using the technology after wearing a virtual reality headset and manual controllers lets you bring depth, cut, paste, paint, and zoom in and out. In other words, it makes your virtual world to flourish your creativity, even from 2D or 360 photos: in an instant, your surroundings can change as you push back walls, create space here and there, add furniture, and experiment with colors.

Creators noted that the technology could have applications in a wide range of fields, including real estate, architects, graphic designers, decorators, and photographers – engineers could even use it for certain kinds of modeling. But the team is planning to set its sights on the movie, media, and video game industry, where its software could be used for such tasks as sketching out scenarios in 3D, previewing movie sets and how they could change during a film, and mapping out the locations of cameras and actors.

Javier Bello, the startup’s co-founder, and CEO, said, “Producers can use it to take a photo of a real set, convert the 360 degrees image into a 3D environment and then, using virtual reality, edit it in order to visualize the scene before they film it. And they’ll be able to do these things ten times faster than with conventional programs.”

“Our first target market is the entertainment industry because people who work there are already familiar with the types of software used for visual effects and motion capture. They can quickly grasp how our program can simplify their work and save them time. What’s more, going after the movie and game industry will put them into contact with heavyweights like Intel, Microsoft, and Oculus.”

Bello said, “This technology was developed over the past 12 years at EPFL’s Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, for use in neurology research. It lets us create smarter tools, processes, and approaches for connecting hardware and software. And not just in virtual reality – we started with that field to show the high level of precision it can attain.”


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