MegaGrant Application

Dear Epic MegaGrants Team,

thank you for taking the time to stop by. This page was specifically created to give you an insight into the scientific projects that we’d like to take to next level using Unreal Engine.

If you have any questions or need further information, please feel free to contact us at any time.

M: michael@lumos.ac

P: +49 160 980 46367

IN A NUTSHELL?

We are cooperating with Germany's largest and most renowned technical university to digitize scientific research and teaching. With Unreal Engine and AR, we want to take the next step in our process to revolutionize how students learn in this and other universities.

In case you’re in a rush or want to get a quick overview of the project before taking a closer look, here’s the tl;dr version in form of a video.

About the Project

RWTH Aachen University is the largest and most renowned technical university in Germany. In addition to the 45,000 students who study more than 150 different courses of study here, the 150-year-old university is also internationally recognized in a wide range of technical fields in research and plays an important role in the European university landscape.

In mid-2019, RWTH Aachen University approached us to establish a joint concept for digitizing the teaching of technical degree programs.

Since January 2020, we have been developing 3D animated films with a first institute at RWTH Aachen University. The goal is to simplify the teaching of complex laboratory experiments of the bachelor’s program by making processes clear, structured and accessible to all students.

The developments around the COVID-19 pandemic have given the project even more importance during this year: In addition to the practical advantage of the laboratory capacities, important steps in the fight against the pandemic around social distancing are now a further impetus to further digitalize teaching and make it accessible to all students from everywhere.

Our next goal is to push this digitization process even further and get more and more universities on board. In addition to the expansion in breadth, the medium is a particularly interesting point for us: We believe that the next step must be interactivity, which we want to make possible with the help of Unreal.

Experimenting yourself instead of just watching

In our opinion, the films we produce are only the first step in a much more comprehensive process. Laboratory experiments, in the best case, are not only observed by students, but also carried out by them. But this is not possible with the large number of students and the high costs involved in accurate laboratory experiments.

Our vision: Experiments that students can perform classically or in AR on their smartphones themselves - scientifically correct, physically accurate and accessible to every student.

The production of these media for universities poses a special challenge: While realism in the entertainment industry only requires to be advanced enough to convince consumers, universities have much greater demands on material properties and physical correctness: The observations in the films must correspond to those in the real world in order to fulfill their purpose.

The R&D phase to make this possible with our animations in Houdini and Cinema 4D is very extensive. We assume that the scope of this R&D phase would also be very extensive when using Unreal Engine.
We want and need to take the time to be able to realistically depict dozens of material properties. To be able to do this at the level that potential customers from the scientific community expect will be a challenge. We would be very grateful for a MegaGrant that would allow us to do just that. We would therefore like to share our experience and assets with the community in order to give back something.

Our goal is to create applications that meet modern usability requirements, are visually appealing, and accurately represent the materials used in laboratory tests physically and visually. To achieve this, we need to create sophisticated water, smoke, dynamics and other physics simulations.

We are convinced that Unreal is the highest quality tool to achieve the level of realism we strive for. This is also necessary given the large number of different materials and predecessors that need to be represented.

Our first goal is to produce a prototype, the exact content and scope of which we will discuss with the scientific community. This prototype should demonstrate what the added value of interactive laboratory experiments for universities can be and should help to convince other universities and institutions to implement interactive laboratory applications in addition to the university that is already on board. If the MegaGrant is awarded to us, we can expect to start the R&D phase for this prototype by the end of this year.

As things stand at present, we expect to be able to develop the first productive application in early 2021.

The optimal approach from our point of view would be to have a small team of 2-3 persons completely dedicated to researching and developing the first required skills and know-how and to develop a first prototype within this process. In order to achieve effective results and to build up a solid level of knowledge, we estimate with expenses of 25.000 – 30.000 Euro.

Of course, smaller amounts are also helpful in achieving this goal, but it is possible that this will require a delay in research and development because we will have to invest more of our own capital, which in the meantime will have to be generated by other projects.

Of course, we would present an Epic Games sponsored R&D phase in this area to the outside world as such. In addition, if we are awarded the MegaGrant, we would like to commit ourselves to make as much of the work developed in this phase available to the community in form of presets, tutorials etc. to give others the opportunity to benefit from it for their projects.

If the MegaGrant is granted, this puts us in a position to establish a standing in the scientific community that should allow us to expand both in the breadth of scientific disciplines and in the breadth of different universities and institutes over the coming years. We hope for the good scientific connectivity and the, especially now, increased interest in enabling digital learning. Research also offers us interesting opportunities for expansion. All these efforts will result in expanded use of the Unreal Engine, ensuring that we deliver more and more products with your engine.

LUMOS?

We are a young 3D Visualization and Animation Studio from Aachen, Germany

We create realistic and pleasing visualizations for architecture, advertising and science.

In the video on the right you can see some of our recent projects to get a general overview of our work.