CollaboVR is about to make live, hands-on, virtual training real

Learning by doing is good. Learning by virtual reality (VR) can be even better.

With CollabVR, a teacher and a group of students scattered around the globe can sit together in a virtual space, hand each other tools and work as a team to assemble a product or perform a repair.

Developed through an EIT Digital Innovation activity, the solution revolutionises the task of training engineers, machine operators and maintenance professionals. It offers all the benefits of hands-on learning, without requiring the teacher to literally be "on-hand".

"Students learn better than they would with traditional methods, such as a written manual, and they remember better, even though they spend less time training," says Jakob Way, CEO of Gleechi, the Swedish startup making CollaboVR.

The ability to work remotely means that there is no geographical barrier to reaching a global market. "We see the potential of scaling up through this multiplayer technology," Way says.

The first version of CollaboVR was developed within the EIT Digital Innovation Factory.

Soon after, the European Innovation Council (EIC) was so impressed by the potential of this remote "hands-on" learning platform that they invested €2.47 million in seed funding, to enable Gleechi to bring it to market.

'Natural hand interaction'

CollaboVR leverages a software developed by Gleechi that provides ‘natural hand interaction'. Wearing a VR handset, students pick up and use virtual tools and equipment, going through an entire factory assembly routine virtually.

According to the company, participants who go through training created with Gleechi's platform make 35% fewer errors.

The technology has been used successfully by several large clients, including ABB and Siemens, and it has helped to teach a range of subjects, such as the sterilization process in hospitals.

So far, however, lessons have taken place asynchronously. Teachers record VR training sessions that can be repeated for students anywhere in the world.

With CollaboVR, Gleechi is going one step further, allowing participants to access virtual ‘hands-on' training in real-time.

At a turning point

It took Gleechi several years to develop and fine-tune its core technology, but the company is now reaping rewards.

"We have been doubling in team size every year for the last three years, we have world leading clients, won well-recognized international awards from MIT and the XPRIZE Foundation," Way proudly notes. Even more important, perhaps, "since the launch of our subscription model a few months ago, we have already grown to more than 500 paying users," the CEO says.

Subscription starts at €35 per user and month, making VR training easy and affordable to set-up even for small and mid-sized companies, without requiring any big implementation projects.

"We are now planning on strengthening the sales team and start scaling up sales," Way says.

And this is just the start. With the upcoming launch of CollaboVR, the company is ready to take simulations to the next level.

"Simulations should not just be something for pilots and surgical training. It can be something that anyone, without any programming, can put together," Way says.

In 2022, the company is bringing the CollaboVR platform to the market.

"With the product in place as well as proof of the market, we are aiming to fundraise to accelerate the adoption of VR training across world," Gleechi's CEO concludes.

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Co-Funded by the European Union