The de Blasio Administration of New York City has announced that the NYU Tandon School of Engineering will be hosting the country's first publicly funded VR/AR facility.
The school was chosen out of many institutions in the running because of its innovations in the world of science and technology as well as the merit of the students they have helped to shape. NYU has already developed many VR projects, making them an ideal candidate for a facility that is to be the hub of NYC AR/VR development.
In an exclusive interview with Next Reality News, Kurt H. Becker, Vice Dean for Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at NYU Tandon School of Engineering spoke about why he believes NYU was chosen. He points out that they already have a good track record of ventures, and have been collaborating for the past 5-6 years with Columbia University to work on AR/VR applications. He believes that they have strength and credibility because they already have faculty who do research on technology related to this facility.
The facility will be backed by $6 million in funding from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME). The idea came from Mayor de Blasio's efforts to create 10,000 good jobs in New York City called 'New York Works'.
According to a press release, the facility is set to create over 500 jobs over the next ten years. Their goal is to make NYC the main hub for AR and VR development, choosing projects and startups that will keep the work being done in New York.
NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett said in the press release:
This is what New York Works is about - investing in emerging industries and growing the middle class.
There have already been certain goals laid out that the collaborators are hoping to accomplish in the AR/VR industry. On the school's part, NYU is planning on organizing a workforce development program with CUNY to move students from their Lehman College VR Training Academy to the facilities.
Becker also pointed out to Next Reality that this facility will provide great experience for the students enrolled at NYU Tandon:
Our students will be involved in a variety of ways because we will run student/incubator internship programs to directly work with startups and get students experience in the field.
One thing they want to accomplish is supporting new ventures, providing a space and the tools necessary for startups to work on their AR/VR projects. This furthers their mission to make NYC AR/VR more accessible to the middle class, as they are giving opportunities to those outside major technology companies to develop their own innovations. They want to expand the "talent pipeline" in the world of AR/VR by building educational programs around the facility as well.
Of course, one of the main focuses will be research and development. NYU will not only use their own students and faculty to work on AR/VR platforms, there will also be collaborations with faculty and students from other schools in NYC. These include Columbia University, CUNY, and the New School. From this, they hope to build a strong AR/VR community within the city.
Once the community is built, the plan is to offer membership and consultative services to companies so that the technology developed from this program will become more available and startups can expand. We reported recently that according to a survey from Market analysts ABI Research, many US companies express interest in AR/VR development, but not many have actually utilized it.
Becker says that he believes this facility will change that as it will directly translate research breakthroughs to those companies who have shown interest in AR/VR technology. A reason that companies have not yet utilized AR/VR technology could be partially due to the lack of practical facility, which is what this will be, he says. Additionally, he says that this people who don't currently have exactly the right skills to make it in the AR/VR world will learn how to at the hub due to educational and training programs.
Kathleen Hamilton, Director of Marketing and Communications at NYU Tandon, who was also involved in the interview, pointed out that this hub is not just an incubator for AR/VR projects, but that they are doing research to respond to marketing needs in the rising world of AR and VR. In addition, they will be directly working with companies who already have successful AR/VR technology to learn the best ways to get this technology out there.
The facility will be opening in a 15,000 square foot space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and it will likely be opened in late 2017.