THINK / Reflections

Augmented Reality Innovation

An effective tool for co-creation. At stimulo we believe that augmented reality (AR) will be an important part of our day to day in the near future. Since the video game sector has adopted the technology many other applications are becoming possible in environments like architecture, engineering, tourism, healthcare or education, just to name a few of them. Imagine the possibilities to co-create in real time with your users in an agile, intuitive and spontaneous way.

The SPARK H2020 Platform

This is one of the main objectives of the collaborating SPARK H2020 platform, a European horizon 2020 project, which supports and encourages creative thinking and the design process, improving the capabilities of innovation in creative industries. The SPARK platform allows designers and clients to freely interact within the paradigm of open innovation to create more adequate solutions and evaluated by the final users themselves

We are talking about streamlining the execution of projects by eliminating the existing barriers of communication which are generated in multidisciplinary teams when iterating within the creative process to see changes in prototypes happening in real time as the design evolves. Technology and creativity will unite in an advanced information management system that monitors all changes made on the design, to enhance and increase the productivity of companies in their day to day working practice. The project presents a vision of a product and packaging development process as a whole.

  1. Target savings of 40% of the time respecting with respect to the selected concept
  2. reduced human resources involvement (-25% man/hours)
  3. optimisation of the workload for the whole design process (-50% expected)
  4. Efficiency of the design process (quantity of approved concepts/ research +70%)
  5. Prototyping cost savings (-20%)

The research activities and innovation are focused on the needs and expectations of the user, conducting tests and interviews to clarify the dynamics that are generated in the co-creation processes, with specific reference to the interaction between people and prototypes. The designers are also interviewed in order to know their experience and make the SPARK platform more receptive to the needs of the users.

Spatial Augmented Reality (SAR)

To do this, we work on an ICT platform (information and communication technologies) which can exploit the potential of the SAR, allowing the visualisation and modification of the digital representation of a product or packaging in a real environment directly over the physic prototype, without the necessity of special glasses or other gadgets, respecting and enhancing creative sessions through multiple possibilities which the new technology will allow us.

“Augmented reality technology’s main function is to add digital information to the reality, but in this case the information is displayed directly on the physical object done by projected video mapping and digital projectors.” SAR


The developers have focused their initial studies on selecting and validating the most appropriate technologies and techniques to incorporate into the ICT platform. The SPARK platform modules will deal with aspects such as visualisation, interaction or data management. At first, the Augmented reality will be used for the visualisation module, while the interaction module will be based on gesture recognition techniques. These modules will provide the user with an intuitive and easy to use work environment through simulations which have been executed in both the academic environment (Politecnico di Milano, Grenoble INP and University of Bath), as well as in the professional environment of product development and packaging design. The comments and evaluations obtained during these tests have been fundamental to optimise and perfect the SPARK platform before validating in a real co-creation setting by Stimulo in Barcelona and Artefice in Milan.

review session, Milano

Co-creation, what are we talking about?

Trends in the creative world have led to a saturated market of similar products. Currently, active user introduction strategies are being used in the process prior to the commissioning or sale of the product, braking the traditional paradigm of innovation; Companies developed a product through their value chain and transferred it to the market, where the customer accepted (or refused) passively what they were selling. In case of the co-creation process we are talking about introducing the client as part of the company, making a joint effort to achieve a better competitive position.

During the 2018 of the Design weeks of Milan and Barcelona demonstrations were carried out so that visitors could experience the functionalities of the platform, interpreting the role of co-designers using tablets, touch screens and innovative interactive video projections (Concept R & D “T” prototype). These activities were attended by industrial design agencies, marketing teams, researchers and experts in innovation and knowledge transfer.

Spark H2020 platform at Barcelona Design Week 2018

“We need balanced skills of digital technology, creativity and business to drive innovation”

Andrea Toscanini Director of big data and business analytics at Fujitsu


During the two days held in Barcelona it was confirmed that while co creation is not a new phenomenon, it remains almost unknown in the strategy of product manufacturers and an opportunity for creative industries to introduce methodologies and tools to improve the user experience, as well as the participation of its customers in the definition of its products. While waiting for the great revolution of 3D printing technologies to arrive, an increasing number of 3D printing companies have chosen to squeeze the big data’s capacity to provide relevant information of product design processes; we would be talking about a path in between.

New times: agile, digitalisation and creativity

The SPARK H2020 Project is part of the current tendencies to streamline processes and decision making through carefully thought-out methodologies in a software environment that aim to make partial and regular deliveries of the final product, prioritising the benefits they have for the users.

Although there are agile management tools to align the different phases of development projects with the day to day business, the introduction of ARS allows you to establish sessions with all the stakeholders involved in the decision making in a continuous way and in a creative environment, becoming a specific digital tool when it comes to generating value for creative industries.

“it confirms the volatile market, with shorter life cycles, greater technological complexity and customisation of solutions and services”

Xavier Majoral Designer and Business Developer at Stimulo

The SPARK H2020 consortium collaborates with SONY in the future experience program where Sony shares its knowledge of R & D with users and developers to explore new technologies and co-create new lifestyles.

Partnership Sony and SPARK

Discover more about  SONY T i SPARK H2020 collaboration to improve creativity.

SPARK H2020 consortium members are: POLIMI (Politecnico di Milano, IT), ARTEFICE (Artefice Group, IT), GINP (Grenoble INP , FR), VISEO (Viseo Technologies, FR), AMS (Antwerp Management School, BL), BATH (University of Bath, UK) i STIMULO DESIGN (Barcelona). Stimulo’s role has focused on defining methodologies of the design process, as well as study cases that have allowed research teams to apply analysis metrics focused on improving the platform from point in view of the user’s experience.

The project has been funded by the European research and innovation program Horizon 2020, so that its results have a commercial exploitation throughout the continent.

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