1. Nine months into the project, how do you think SERMAS is shaping its work to make a difference in the XR sphere?  
The project can hopefully make XR more human-centered, more trustworthy, and thus more useful and enjoyable. 


2. What is the SERMAS vision of XR?  
I'm just going to spell out the acronym: socially-acceptable extended reality models and systems. That sums it up nicely. 


3. In relation to the project outcomes, what is the main result that SERMAS will provide?  
It's still a bit too early to predict final results, but we should aim for a modular, sustainable toolkit that allows users to create relatable XR agents which can then be put to work across different platforms and scenarios.


4. Reflecting on the past six months and gazing into the future, which trend stands out prominently and will shape the landscape of XR? 
It's hard to pick one. Avatars and all kinds of virtual identities will probably play an important role. Then there's the big hype around generative AI – which will most likely lead to some sort of generative XR, i.e. we'll see more stunning images and other machine learning "magic" in augmented and virtual reality experiences. Last, but not least, there's a good chance that the introduction of the Apple Vision Pro headset will kick-off a new software development boom which will then lead to the creation of spatial computing experiences that are more sophisticated and more popular. 

5. Which sector do you believe is making the most extensive use of XR technology? Additionally, looking ahead to the future, which sector do you anticipate will adopt XR technology?  

I guess a lot of people in manufacturing/engineering and medicine/healthcare are using XR, especially when it comes to augmented reality tutorials and simulations. XR is also leaving its mark in education and entertainment. As for new sectors: I don't think we're going to see any surprises. People will try and upscale XR in existing fields of application, though. Think secondary schools and university labs. 

6. Describe the project in one word.  

Promising. 

1. How do you think the SERMAS project can make a difference in the XR sphere?
The big ambition of SERMAS is to realize socially acceptable XR agents, to elevate the interaction between human users and AI-based technology to the next level. With a special focus on the robotics domain, we believe that the activities that will be developed in the project will push the boundaries of human-robot interaction, by exploiting the integration between verbal and nonverbal communication and benefiting from the synergy with different domains of research such as psychology. 


2. What is the SERMAS vision of XR?
 XR agent is intended to be in a very large sense, from a virtual to a physical one. This aspect confers to the project a deeper interest since it gives the opportunity to analyze the interaction from a very wide point of view.


3. What is the main result SERMAS will deliver?
We aim at implementing socially-accepted behaviours for artificial agents, such as robots so that a larger basin of users will have the occasion to interact with these machines, whose level of ubiquity has reached nowadays their highest point.


4. What do you think is the most important trend in the XR field for 2023?
 We believe in the ambition of SERMAS in aiming at developing interaction modalities that involve any users, which means also people who are not used to handling high-tech tools. This aspect is, on one side, very interesting and stimulating from the research point of view since it proves researchers with novel challenges. On the other side, it favors the availability of this kind of technology to a wider range of users, including non-technicians such as elderly people, children, or patients.


5. Which sector is using the most XR at the moment?
The industrial sector is surely the domain where XR has been very much investigated as a possible auxiliary and complementary technology in addition to the classical tools, as demonstrated by the vast literature in this field, see for example [1] [2] [3].


6. Describe the project in one word.
 Stimulating.

[1] Tariq Masood, Johannes Egger, “Augmented reality in support of Industry 4.0—Implementation challenges and success factors,” Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, Volume 58, 2019, Pages 181-195, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0736584518304101?casa_token=EMCUW2PGcCEAAAAA:bCE3Tezhv2vqRZqIHgpW2GdUczWPcXPGc-BOuH1H3f5ogfjvYN5fsECOeYH_cZnd5jPdtQ4c9A

[2] Luís Fernando de Souza Cardoso, Flávia Cristina Martins Queiroz Mariano, Ezequiel Roberto Zorzal, “A survey of industrial augmented reality,” Computers & Industrial Engineering, Volume 139, 2020, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S036083521930628X?casa_token=60JxQT7yQJMAAAAA:YmgHuvtcpAWvaI4zBr2iBd9-UkTPcKEhi4APNOPjb4asTgdZA1IhEYTc71gKNu4mZWs9LbjG2Q

[3] Eleonora Bottani & Giuseppe Vignali (2019) Augmented reality technology in the manufacturing industry: A review of the last decade, IISE Transactions, 51:3, 284-310, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/citedby/10.1080/24725854.2018.1493244?scroll=top&needAccess=true&role=tab

1. How do you think the SERMAS project can make a difference in the XR sphere?
With a focus on social acceptance, SERMAS provides a novel framework for building agents that can interact with humans reliably to enhance the XR experience. 


2. What is the SERMAS vision of XR?
We see the opportunity opened by XR and AI technologies that will revolutionize our daily lives as smartphones have done. XR technologies can be applied in most sectors to support us, humans, from public services to personalized healthcare and education. XR technologies are around for quite a while now. However, in practice, they’re rarely used. As potential use cases are rather limitless, how to include them in our daily lives “the right way” is still an open question. One important factor is the lack of user acceptability. And this is the starting point for SERMAS.


3. What is the main result SERMAS will deliver?
At TUDa, we will deploy frameworks for the design, development, deployment and management of methods for language-based interactions between humans and the SERMAS XR agent. 


4. What do you think is the most important trend in the XR field for 2023?
Improve user experience with XR technologies 


5. Which sector is using the most XR at the moment?
Education: Virtual training; industry and manufacturing 


6. Describe the project in one word.
Innovation

1. How do you think the SERMAS project can make a difference in the XR sphere?
SERMAS will provide evidence of the importance of human factors related to technology. Thanks to XR people have access to many services but they are still looking for a ‘more natural’ interaction with a virtual system.  


2. What is the SERMAS vision of XR?
SERMAS’s vision of XR is driven by a socio-technical approach. This means that XR is considered as a technology that will expand the potential of people. This will be possible both by designing an easy-to-use technology and also to be able to address important principles, such as diversity, ethics and security.   


3. What is the main result SERMAS will deliver?
When a person will be able to interact with a non-human agent as they would do with another person. 


4. What do you think is the most important trend in the XR field for 2023?
Given the fact that many sectors are moving quickly in this direction, there will be an increase in the usage of XR in most sectors. In my opinion: gaming, entertainment, retail and healthcare.  


5. Which sector is using the most XR at the moment?
Sectors focused on social interactions and entertainment. 


6. Describe the project in one word.
SERMAS is SERMAS! (when the interaction with an agent will not create any social concern, it will simply be SERMAS!) 😊  

1. How do you think the SERMAS project can make a difference in the XR sphere?
What really sets SERMAS apart, in my view, is the joint multidisciplinary effort of researchers of different disciplines and sectors working on the theory and practice of XR systems. Although such multidisciplinarity is certainly not uncommon in the XR sphere, SERMAS brings an unprecedented effort to achieve not just the development of new models and systems, but also the guarantee that these models and systems will be efficient, secure, trustworthy, and thus, ultimately, socially acceptable.


2. What is the SERMAS vision of XR?
SERMAS’ vision of XR is that XR will really enter the life of the citizen only if it will be efficient, secure, trustworthy, and thus, ultimately, socially acceptable. Functionality alone won’t be enough, nor will the hype surrounding social media. It will need to be accessible, and attractive, to the ”normal” users, including those who are technology averse or usually unable or unwilling to engage with technology.  


3. What is the main result SERMAS will deliver?
A novel approach to design, develop and analyse XR agents. XR agents developed with the SERMAS approach will be not just attractive for developers and users, but also trailblazing as they will pave the way to the adoption of a novel generation of XR. 
 
4. What do you think is the most important trend in the XR field for 2023?
An advanced, secure, trustworthy socially acceptable user experience. 


5. Which sector is using the most XR at the moment?
The arts, but other sectors are gaining ground rapidly, basically, all those that provide services of some form. Oh, and social media, of course. 


6. Describe the project in one word.
Trailblazing.

1. How do you think the SERMAS project can make a difference in the XR sphere?
The SERMAS project focuses primarily on socially acceptable XR systems. And this, in our view, has the potential to significantly impact the XR sphere by promoting diversity and inclusiveness in XR experiences. XR means not only immersive interfaces and captivating content but simultaneously interfaces and content accessible to people of all backgrounds, cultures and abilities, tools that encourage interaction and connection between users of diverse groups.
This project can help create tools to break down barriers and promote empathy and understanding, leading to a more inclusive XR ecosystem where everyone feels valued and included. This can also have a positive impact on society at large, as XR experiences that promote social acceptance and diversity can help increase awareness and understanding of different perspectives, cultures, and lifestyles. Furthermore, thanks to these aspects, a SERMAS agent can attract a wider range of users and help drive growth in the XR sector.


2. What is the SERMAS vision of XR?
The vision of this project is to create an inclusive extended reality experience where users can interact and connect to digital services in new and innovative ways. The emphasis is on promoting social acceptance, breaking down barriers, and promoting empathy and understanding. The experience should be engaging, accessible, intuitive, trustable, and enabling for all users, regardless of their background, culture, or ability. Our starting point is that we believe that there is a need for a paradigm shift for XR experiences, where the "revolutionary opportunities opened up by these technologies will only materialize if concepts, techniques and tools are provided to ensure the social acceptance of the systems". XR" (cit.). Among the crucial points are the design and development of intuitive and inclusive interfacing methods (which consider verbal and non-verbal aspects, for example), accessible contents, and the design of reliable systems. All this, using as a guide the use cases and features focused on the user's needs.


3. What is the main result SERMAS will deliver?
The main result will be a proven methodology to design socially acceptable XR agents. And the word proven is the key because together with the theory there will be the practice of the different use cases that are “just” instances of the SERMAS toolkit.


4. What do you think is the most important trend in the XR field for 2023?
In our opinion, while the gaming industry is currently one of the largest users of XR, a significant trend is the increasing adoption of XR in enterprise and industrial settings. Companies across a wide range of industries, such as manufacturing, healthcare, and retail, are exploring how XR technologies can be used to improve processes, increase efficiency, and enhance customer experiences. As a result, there is expected to be a significant increase in investment and development in this area, leading to new and innovative XR applications and solutions.


5. Which sector is using the most XR at the moment?
As mentioned earlier, the gaming industry is perhaps the largest user of extended reality (XR) technologies. Virtual Reality allows players to fully immerse themselves in a digital environment, providing a more interactive and engaging gaming experience, while Augmented Reality allows building games that integrate with real-world surroundings. In this way, the gaming industry provides players with a more engaging and interactive experience, and this helps to push the boundaries of what is possible in gaming, allowing it to offer unique and immersive experiences and enhance its own product portfolio. And, from our point of view, this will act as a driving force for other sectors.


6. Describe the project in one word.
Gamechanger

Funded by the european union
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