Virtual and augmented reality centre to open in Wellington

Centre to offer “a unique space for the nation’s top digital innovators, businesses and researchers to collaborate on developing and testing world-first applications for virtual, augmented and mixed reality”

A virtual and mixed reality centre, Projectr, has been set up in the recently refurbished NEC House on Taranaki St, Wellington with support from the building’s owner, The Wellington Company and the Wellington City Council.

The centre is billed as offering “a unique space for the nation’s top digital innovators, businesses and researchers to collaborate on developing and testing world-first applications for virtual, augmented and mixed reality.”

Plans include “a shared workspace equipped with the latest technologies for 30 residents to use, a mixed reality room with a green screen, a gaming space and a conference venue for hosting events.”

According to the centre’s director, Jessica Manins, residents at Projectr will be able to seek mentoring from its pool of international experts in virtual, augmented and mixed reality, and will be introduced to potential investors eager to fund Wellington’s thriving digital industry.

“Projectr is the perfect opportunity for start-ups and established companies to collaborate to create stories using these new technologies, developing software, hardware and content,” she said.

She claimed Wellington was one of the great storytelling capitals of the world, already home to some world-leading technology companies, including Weta Workshop, which has some staff working at its Miramar headquarters on creative possibilities for Magic Leap, an American-based mixed reality company valued at $US4.5 billion ($NZ6.1b) a year ago.

“In February, Wellington-founded holographic technology company 8i raised an additional $NZ37.5 million (US$27m) to fund its work, creating holograms of people for virtual and augmented reality on smartphones, after earlier attracting $NZ20 million from investors,” she said.

“I’ve had venture capitalists and private investors approach me who are keen to invest in virtual reality in Wellington. The city has a strong internationally recognised tech reputation,” Manins said.

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