Pointing the smartphone or tablet triggers the presentation of on-screen options
Pointing the smartphone or tablet triggers the presentation of on-screen options

Liverpool firm creates software for controlling home in ways ‘only seen in science fiction’

Home automation business Ultamation has created an augmented reality (AR) app for controlling connected devices within a residential environment.

The firm, based in Liverpool Science Park, developed software that allows users to control home appliances by pointing their smartphone or tablet at the device.

Pointing triggers the presentation of on-screen options to control functions such as power, volume, channel and contrast.

Ultamation created the AR app with the help of the LCR 4.0 business support programme, part of the Liverpool City Region Local Growth Hub.

The company worked with the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre, an LCR 4.0 delivery partner, to develop a working prototype of the software.

The centre also advised Ultamation on the ways in which the product could be used in industry. Tests on applying it within an industrial setting are now underway, with Ultamation investigating how the app might help manufacturing firms improve productivity.

Ultamation MD Oliver Hall said: “Initially, the idea was around augmented reality in residential control. However, the work we’ve done with the VEC through the LCR 4.0 programme has made us aware of wider market applications for this type of technology.

“What started as a pipe dream has turned into a piece of technology I can hold in my hand and control devices in a way previously only seen in science fiction films.”

He added: “Not only this, we’ve received valuable PR and marketing support through the LCR 4.0 programme, all whilst owning the intellectual property (IP) rights.”

Virtual Engineer Centre technical director Dr Andy Levers, technical lead for LCR 4.0, commented: “LCR 4.0 is about helping innovative companies in the Liverpool City Region, like Ultamation, develop new products and services.

“This is a great example of a company making the most of the resources available in the Liverpool City Region to develop a product that will help to take its business forward.”

The LCR 4.0 programme is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. It is delivered in partnership by the University of Liverpool, Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, Liverpool John Moores University, Sensor City and the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Hartree Centre.

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