Meet the winners of the CR2Learn Open Call 1: X-Alfy project!

Meet the visionary team behind X-Alfy: VENAKA TreeLeaf GbR (VTG). In this exclusive interview, VTG shares insights into their groundbreaking project, X-Alfy, which aims to provide advanced XR tools for forestry education and environmental awareness. Discover how X-Alfy evolved from VTG’s passion for addressing climate change challenges and how it’s poised to benefit end-users by enhancing forestry practices and fostering environmental consciousness.

  1. Can you briefly present us your team? What’s your story and what drives you?

Absolutely, VENAKA TreeLeaf  GbR (VTG) is a young and energetic SME based in Berlin, Germany. VTG specialises in the provision of AI-based Virtual and Augmented Reality technology and services for environmental awareness and protection. Although VTG was founded in 2019, its complete story started 10 years earlier with Venaka Media Limited (VML), another SME founded in 2009 by the same team in London, UK. Due to changes in the political landscape and, more importantly, the application interest of the company directors, VML was transformed into VTG four years ago, with a new location in Berlin, Germany. The key driver for this new start can be found in the registered company bylaws:  “the purpose of the company is to provide AI-based services to promote social and ecological awareness, forest protection and reforestation support. In addition, the company will develop Virtual and Augmented Reality software and hardware for forestry applications.” In this context what really drives us is not profit per se but rather the provision of our five cents towards solutions to the critical climate change challenge currently faced by life on earth. 

The core VTG team has collectively more than 50 years of experience in R&D in the fields of Virtual and Augmented reality, Computer Vision, Machine Learning and AI. The VTG core team also has a vast expertise across several other technologies including media analysis and creation, signal processing and mobile application development. 

  1. In simple words, what is your project about and how is it linked with XR2Learn?

X-Alfy aims at providing advanced XR tools for Forestry, addressing three different yet complementary application areas: Teaching, Learning and Environmental Awareness. X-Alfy focuses on research, development, implementation and application in the emerging field of AI-driven XR. The project addresses few technical challenges fully aligned with the XR2LEARN project concept. A main technical challenge relates to the development of automated, AI-driven production of highly realistic visual content for the generation of VR and AR in forestry environments. X-Alfy will also provide tools to assist teaching and learning for forestry education and generic environmental awareness.  

  1. How did you come up with this project idea and what benefits will it bring to the end users?

The project idea evolved from our work in the development of a mobile application to support, wild fire prevention, early detection and subsequent reforestation. Responding to the critical need to tackle the vast problems emanating from global warming events, the benefit to end users is encapsulated in the fact, that the socio-economic impact brought by any technology aimed at improving forestry practices and environmental awareness is indeed significant.

  1. In what way is XR2Learn contributing to your own ambitions?

It is enabling us to exploit our expertise and technical capabilities to achieve the goals of the company. These are in turn based on our own ambitions.

  1. What type of support do you want to receive from the XR2Learn team?

Among others, enhanced dissemination, boosting of end user numbers and cross fertilization with other related projects and products.

  1. What type of synergies do you want to explore/are already exploring with other XR2Learn teams?

It very much depends on concrete technology and applications being developed by other XR2Learn teams. We are still in an exploration phase.

  1. What are your plans for the future when it comes to the development of your ideas & projects?

In this initial phase of the company, we plan to continue seeking external funding to realize new ideas and projects. Once a circular virtuous cycle is achieved, and the company work becomes sustainable without external funding, new projects will be funded by the yields of previous and ongoing projects.