Facebook parent Meta announced on November 29 that it will be providing $1 million to launch a fellowship programme that aims to boost the developer ecosystem around immersive technologies as the company looks to make a deeper push into the metaverse.
The programme, called XR Open Source (XROS) fellowship, is part of Meta’s global XR (extended reality) Programs and Research Fund under which the company announced a $2 million fund for the XR Startup programme with MeitY Startup Hub earlier this year.
It will be run by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), with an aim to support around 100 Indian developers working on XR technologies by providing them with fellowships that includes stipend and mentoring.
In a statement, Meta stated that the initiative will enable developers to make contributions to open-source projects related to the XR technology and lay the foundation for India-specific solutions that are affordable, appropriate and localised to Indic languages.
“The vision for India’s techade can only be achieved when the young developers and startups, including those from tier II & III cities, contribute to enabling future technologies like XR in the metaverse,” said Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.
“I am glad that FICCI and Meta are launching this initiative which will not only focus on providing a monetary boost to the developers but will also support them with the right mentoring to build immersive technologies,” he added.
XROS is part of Meta’s global XR Programs and Research Fund under which the company announced a $2 million fund for the XR Startup programme with MeitY Startup Hub earlier this year. XROS further aims to provide developers with the resources they need to create digital public goods and generate potential employment opportunities in the field of XR technologies, it said.
“The metaverse won’t be built by one company alone. Through programmes like XR Open Source, we will support Indian developers working on these exciting technologies. With their talent, insight and effort, we hope to ensure the next generation of internet technologies are built in an open, collaborative and accessible way,” said Nick Clegg, President, Global Affairs, Meta.
The National e-Governance Division (NeGD), an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, will be the technical partner to the programme.
“Open source technology-driven ecosystems can play a big role in building robust digital public goods which are interoperable and follow federated architecture. Indian developers, especially from tier 2/3 cities, will play a significant role in shaping the future of emerging technology and the metaverse for India and the world,” said Abhishek Singh, President and CEO of NeGD.
Meta stated that it has previously supported and launched various open source initiatives such as No Language Left Behind (NLLB), that will allow AI to learn from and build tools for languages, which currently have fewer resources to train machine learning models.
Last year, the tech giant also partnered with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to train over 10 million students and one million educators in immersive technologies over the next three years.
In June 2022, Meta launched the LeARn Program to train 40,000 students in augmented reality (AR), and developed the School of AR, a programme that claims to have upskilled 1,000 developers to work on advanced capabilities in MetaSpark, the company’s AR platform used by developers and creators to build AR experiences across Meta’s family of apps. Moneycontrol