The New Zealand VR/AR Association (NZVRARA) and Massey University School of Design have announced a strategic partnership to support the fast-growing New Zealand virtual and mixed reality sector.
Virtual reality technologically isolates a user from the real world to create a simulated one; while augmented or mixed reality merge real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualisations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.
School of Design head Professor Brian Lucid is a founding board member of the NZVRARA and oversaw students at Massey University establishing New Zealand's first tertiary VRAR Club, VRTX, in early 2017, going on to establish a specialised VRAR room on the Wellington campus.
Professor Lucid says the development of virtual and augmented reality, and the public's access to it, was expected to greatly expand before the end of the decade.
“The mixed and virtual reality industry in New Zealand is estimated to double within two years,” Lucid says.
“The School of Design is committed to building expertise in story-telling and content creation for immersive technologies to ensure that New Zealand has the capacity and capability to remain a leading force in this sector.
“Our partnership with the NZVRARA not only supports educational and student initiatives but builds stronger connections between student and faculty research, industry partners and sector members.
Massey University is ranked in the top 1.2% of universities in the world, and the School of Design within the College of Creative Arts is ranked the number one design school in Asia-Pacific by the Red Dot Awards.
Lucid says Massey University continues to push the boundaries of design and innovation and recognises virtual and mixed reality as a transformational technology.
NZVRARA executive director Courteney Lomas expressed excitement at the partnership with Massey University to build closer relationships between both international and national industry corporations and staff and students at Massey.
“The incredible design-led work from Massey graduates promises a bright future for the New Zealand VRAR industry and we enjoyed celebrating their success at the NZVRARA inaugural Graduate VRAR Exhibition earlier in December.
The New Zealand VR/AR Association was established to champion, support and grow innovation in the virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors.
Association chair Michael Gregg says the NZVRARA is seeking to build deeper links to the academic and research community.
“Connecting with Massey University at this level sends a strong signal of our intentions to play an active role in cultivating a strong VR-capable graduate community to provide a skilled workforce for burgeoning New Zealand-based cross reality (XR) businesses to employ, as well as creating the next wave of startups.