Auckland – Virtual Reality (VR) company, VR Voom, announces it will receive R&D Loan funding from Callaghan Innovation to support its R&D work into a project involving 5G and VR.  This COVID-19 support funding will enable the company to continue to enhance its education offerings, leveraging the expanded data capacity and speed of the new 5G network to enhance what can be done with 5G enabled VR technology being used by its students. 

During the worst pandemic of the century, the company has seen young people seek to learn more about VR and the potential of this new frontier in technology.  The outcome from the 5G + VR R&D project will empower Kiwi students to understand 5G and integrate 5G into their development, then share their VR creations with wider audiences. 

VR Voom has been reaching out to schools in Auckland and throughout New Zealand, to let schools know about VR Game Design and Programming and 3D Modelling & Animation courses they offer, both in-person and online, and specialised support services they provide to schoolteachers in the area of Digital Technologies curriculum.

VR Voom chief executive Peter Dong says, “thanks to the financial support from the Callaghan Innovation R&D Loan Scheme, students will be ahead of the curve in the 5G+VR era by understanding what 5G is, the integration with VR, and soon be able to easily share VR content they create through participating in our courses with classmates, friends, family and the wider community via 5G enabled VR technology – it’s a game-changer for this fast-growing sector.”

“New Zealand business and education leaders are aware of the growth and future potential of the globally expanding virtual reality industry.  And there is no other company in New Zealand that offers the same as us.”

Dong’s team has been helping an expanding number of students from schools across Auckland and continues to provide additional online course options and school holiday programmes. 

“VR Voom operates a unique business model in the virtual reality industry, combining emerging technology, engaging experiences, distribution, and innovative educational opportunities for young learners. We are a first mover in successfully converging multiple elements from different sectors.

“A lot is changing amid the global COVID-19 pandemic as more people are waking up to the digital age, and we are excited to be part of the solution to enabling young learners to get involved in creating rather than just consuming in this space. Our Cause is to develop digital technologies teaching solutions for students and provide specialised support to teachers.”

For further information contact VR Voom, CEO, Peter Dong via peter.d@vrvoom.co.nz or BDM, Andrew Allerby via andrew.a@vrvoom.co.nz


#5g #vr

The wonderful thing about buildings and structures made in a digital environment is that they can be made to look and work however you want, without having to consider any limitations of physical reality. In real life, buildings can only reach a certain height or weight before they may collapse or wouldn’t be able to function properly. In a digital 3D setting, a modeller doesn't need to have the same mindset as an actual architect or builder. Not only can a modeller create any type of building, with no restrictions, the building also doesn’t need to make logical sense for it to work. When you’re building a house, it needs to have a certain structure for it to even stand, a brick wall needs to have a specific pattern for the bricks to be placed. But in 3D, those rules don’t apply, and people have been able to come up with some truly unique designs.


Another great thing about digital 3D buildings is that they can be a good pre-vis for an actual building in real life. Real estate developers can hire digital 3D modellers to create models from an idea that they have and can see it fully made in a digital environment much quicker than even creating a physical model. That way, real estate developers can get a better idea beforehand if something works as intended or not. There may have even been cases where an architect might play a modelling game to help stimulate an idea or develop an early version of a building they are going to design. Games like "The Sims" are a good example of where people can play to stimulate creative ideas, as you get to build a lot of houses in that game from scratch.


Could we use fantasy and other 3D ideas that kids have today for buildings in real life at some point in their lifetimes in the future? Many architectures in fantasy and other genres probably wouldn’t really work in our world today, however, that doesn’t mean that they are not influential on conceptual design going forward, borrowing some of the interesting ideas to create new innovative house designs for the future.


What have people made and have there been any patterns? What a lot of people like to do when they’re creating a building in 3D is play with the reality of weight. They might have a very tall and big house that’s being held up by an impossibly thin pillar from underneath that would snap in half and collapse if it was in the real world. Futuristic animations usually don’t have much going on in terms of what’s on the building itself, they tend to be clean and generally take the form of simple shapes, while fantasy animations like to play around with a bunch of unique shapes and have a lot of things covering the building, from plants hanging from windows to roofs being very random shapes. Ideas like these do seem to have filtered through into design reality.


While it is subjective to say that some modern houses and cities today can look uninteresting, games and animated shows usually make sure that their world is visually stunning to look at. In the future, one could hope that architects and construction methods take more inspiration from fiction and perhaps apply this to the real world.


Computers are extremely powerful tools, able to calculate complex math and generate solutions in mere seconds. Couple this with giving the computer certain inputs that generate different outputs and we have a basic Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). However, even computers have their limits and can only process outcomes we predefine for them. But what if we gave the computer a problem and let it learn and create its own solution? (Don’t worry the Terminator outcome is still far from occurring).


Genetic Algorithms in programming mimic what we see in real-life evolution. It takes survival of the fittest quite literally. What the computer essentially does is generate x random solutions. From there it determines which solutions are the fittest. It then takes these fit solutions and breeds them together to create a new and hopefully better generation of solutions. The computer will continue to do this over and over again until it determines it has the fittest solution possible, or the evolution stagnates if the computer can’t find any better solutions.


In layman's terms, the computer mimics real-life evolution when solving a specific problem. Instead of taking thousands of years of evolutions, the computer with its fast processing power can take this down to a matter of minutes or even seconds. It’s important to note that the problem being solved needs a solution that can be measured (e.g. the shortest route between Point A and Point B).


Let’s take a more practical example. The traveling salesman is a problem where you have to find the shortest route possible when visiting x number of cities. However, the salesman can only visit each city once. What is the shortest route possible? Using Genetic algorithms, we can solve this problem fairly quickly. To begin with, the computer will generate random routes between all the cities (only visiting each one once). We can then measure the fitness of each route by how long the journey was. Take the shortest routes, blend them together to create more routes, and measure it all again. Rinse and repeat until you have the shortest route possible.

Genetic algorithms allow for the rapid trial and error of coming up with solutions to problems. This allows us to rapidly test different ideas and problems without having to go test each one by hand. This algorithm can be applied to a wide range of real-life problems. Allowing computers to calculate the shortest route possible between locations or to randomly design load-bearing bridges. Really, it’s up to the programmer how they use it to solve problems.

(A.I. learning how to walk using only joints and shapes)


However, couple this algorithm with other complex algorithms such as neural networks (mimicking how a brain functions) and you can actually create impressive A.I, that learns and gets better at doing certain tasks, not just solving problems. A great example of this is being able to create a creature from a random jumble of shapes and joints and getting it to learn how to walk.

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