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Co-ordinator,  Facilitator
UTS: Innovation and Entrepreneurship
July til October 2016
Workshop Series

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

2016 was heralded as the year of Virtual Reality. It seemed that everyone was talking about it. So we decided to join the conversation, by roping in some of the best and brightest minds in Virtual Reality to talk and build some experimental VR experiences. 

It was before Ready Player One had come out, and before the Playstation VR headset but it seemed all of the world was talking about Virtual Reality. Monique Potts at UTS Innovation and Creative Intelligence saw this and was interested in joining the conversation but with one key difference - why don't we let people play with stuff?


So the VR/ AR program was designed to be half curation and half co-creation. The first half of the program saw some incredible guests be part of the group. Highlights included:


  • Lynette Wallworth talking about her Sundance Institute project Collisions.

  • Futurist Mark Pesce giving a long and incredible talk on the history of VR and how he sees it progressing into the future.

  • Dr Hung Nguyen and his son Dr Jordan Nguyen both talking to the group about the uses of VR in the area of health.


The second half of the program saw the participants divided into three groups, each taking on a different project. The groups were:


  • Group A (world building): This group, facilitated by award-winning VR developer Ben Tan, developed game worlds in Unity that could be played on the HTC Vive.

  • Group B (360 video): This group, facilitated by production company Chello, shot a 360 music video which was screened in the UTS data arena.

  • Group C (Story-telling): This group explored some interesting questions that VR raises, like what is the role of the director? What is the role of the audience? They explored these questions with Sam Doust and Dan Sim-Lind.


The final night of the VR/AR Cluster was held at bar Penny Lane, with a screening of the final projects in the UTS data arena. The data arena was a wonderful way to screen the participants work but also to showcase the potential of the data arena to the industry practitioners and invited guests. Many participants after viewing, commented on how useful the data arena could be to their work. 


Overall the VR/AR Cluster was an amazing experience. People played with technology that they would not have had access to anywhere else. They got creative and built VR experiences but perhaps most importantly they got to gather and share knowledge around a burgeoning industry.


“Just such an outstanding group of individuals in the class. And excellent presenters like Mark Pesci, the Nguyens, and Sam; quality, detailed, on topic, ahead of the curve, uplifting, inspiring. I enjoyed every single one of the presenters. Also liked the product array for sampling. I am not the best person to be giving negative feedback because I am not in the industry, and not as tech-savy as some. On the other hand, I've been to hundreds of conferences and workshops, and I can recognise quality offerings, and great bundling. Tick in all the boxes as far as I am concerned.”


Feedback from one of the participants.

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