The SPARK project has been funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme.

The Grant Agreement has been signed on November 2015 and in the following, some project data are provided:

START DATE 01-01-2016
TOTAL BUDGET 3,180,242.50

The research and innovation activities will start with the Characterization of users' needs and expectations (WP1). The consortium will cooperate to run tests and interviews to clarify the dynamics of co-design, with specific reference to the interaction among humans and with prototypes. Expert designers will be also interviewed to elicit their experience and make the SPARK platform more responsive to user needs. The output of this WP will be the definition of priorities and requirements for the ICT platform, and will impact both WP2 and WP3.

The activities of WP2 - Development of SPARK modules aim at selecting and validating the most suitable technologies and techniques to be embedded in the platform also on the basis of the specifications provided by the users, which have been defined in WP1. The SPARK platform modules will address aspects, such as visualization, interaction, data management, etc. In principle, the Spatial Augmented Reality (SAR) will be used for the visualization 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 working environment.

The outputs of WP1 and WP2 will be the basis for the development of the SPARK platform (WP3). As a first activity, the consortium will define the architecture of the whole system, which will have to be intuitive, easy to use and will have to meet the needs of the users for co-creative design. Then, the platform will be developed and a first set of lab tests will be performed, in order to check its functionality (e.g. consistency with functional requirements defined for the ICT platform). Once the first version of the SPARK platform is completed and tested in lab, it will be validated in a relevant operational environment. This means that the creative end users, as well as the stakeholders meaningful for pre-defined case studies, will be invited to take part in testing sessions where the conditions of a real co-design session will be recreated at Politecnico di Milano, Grenoble INP and University of Bath (WP4 - Test and validation in relevant environment). In order to validate the effectiveness and the efficiency of the SPARK platform, the enhancement of designers’ creativity using it will be tested against a control group working in standard co-design condition, without the support of SAR.

The feedback and the evaluations obtained during these tests in relevant environment will be fundamental in order to refine and improve the platform. After having revised the platform according to the results of WP4, the platform will be validated in real operational environments with relevant platform users. In order to get as many data as possible, the validation will be conducted at creative industries’ premises with professionals from the consortium. Tests will be also carried out with MS/PhD students of the Schools of Design of Politecnico di Milano, Grenoble INP and University of Bath, being them potential future users of the platform. This will also contribute to the further validation and assessment of the ease-of-use and the intuitiveness of the developed platform (WP5 - Validation and demonstrations in real operational environment). Also from this stage, the feedback gathered will be used for the fine-tuning of the platform. After this refinement, the consortium will organise widespread demonstration activities with customers of the creative industries partners of the project, as well as with other creative industries. Finally, showcases will be organised in order to increase as much as possible the awareness in the effectiveness and usability of SPARK.