Bristol’s first virtual reality lab opens

Bristol’s first virtual reality lab opens

A landmark new facility establishing Bristol as a global leader in the development of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and content has officially opened its doors.

The world’s first VR ribbon cutting marked the official opening of the Bristol VR Lab.

Wearing a headset with no real scissors in sight, West of England mayor Tim Bowles cut the virtual ribbon at the space that hopes to help develop new businesses and commercial opportunites.

Twenty startup businesses are already established in the facility above Prezzo on Anchor Square.

UWE Bristol is a founding partner of the lab, along with the University of Bristol, the Watershed digital creativity centre and award-winning virtual reality developer Opposable Group.

Professor Martin Boddy, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Business Engagement at UWE Bristol, said: “We are delighted to be a founding partner in the creation of Bristol VR Lab, working with other stakeholders to get this exciting initiative up and running.

“VR and AR applications are going to be massively important in the future across a whole range of sectors from cultural and entertainment experiences through to engineering, design, building and infrastructure, health and many others.”

Bristol VR Lab director Ben Trewhella, added: “The market for virtual and augmented reality is forecast to grow exponentially over the next five years.

“In delivering the vision of the Bristol VR Lab we will position Bristol as a centre of expertise and will create significant commercial opportunities and new businesses, providing competitive advantage in improved understanding, resource and exposure through the work of the lab.”

VR is expected to be a dominant force in domestic and industrial technology over the coming decades as engineers and scientists envisage a future in which people interact through headsets that appear to offer three-dimensional views.

However, researchers have also warned that VR headsets could pose risks to users, particularly children.

The Bristol VR Lab is open for startups, researchers and organisations seeking to explore immersive technologies commercially.

Managers are welcoming other businesses to get in touch to help further develop VR in Bristol.

 

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