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New Zealand boosts immersive gaming applications

Photo Credit: University of Canterbury

An international team of experts is being assembled by the University of Canterbury in its aim to craft the future of immersive gaming in New Zealand.

According to a recent report, this is made possible thanks to a Government funding boost of NZ$ 3.2 million in addition to University funding worth NZ$ 4.5 million.

Investing in immersive gaming

The Government is investing in the University’s Applied Immersive Gaming Initiative (AIGI), which intends to accelerate research and public use of immersive gaming applications.

This research uses the motivation that games provide to engage people in carrying out tasks that might otherwise be boring or difficult, such as learning at school, exercising or quitting smoking.

It includes virtual reality, augmented reality, and social and artistic aspects, which merge digital content with an otherwise physical world.

This continues the University’s record of developing world-class research and being part of the transition into nurturing and developing new innovations and business.

The project is part of the Tertiary Education Commission’s (TEC) Entrepreneurial Universities programme and will bring three international entrepreneurial academics to the Human Interface Technology Lab New Zealand (HIT Lab NZ) at the University to break new ground on effective use of these novel technologies.

Benefits of immersive gaming

This type of immersive gaming is used in training and education, as well as for remote collaborative activities using this technology.

It has been proven to be useful in rescue situations and other health-and-safety scenarios.

Developing innovative immersive gaming applications has a role in improving personal and social educational and health-related outcomes.

Moreover, it is used in entertainment games. This industry is an increasingly important contributor to the New Zealand economy.

By supporting technical innovation research through this project, the skills shortage in New Zealand’s growing and lucrative gaming industry can be addressed.

Who are involved?

The academics will be working mainly with postgraduate students in the HIT Lab NZ, which is an international, multidisciplinary research lab that delivers postgraduate degrees from ground-breaking research at the University.

In addition, they will help with the University’s new School of Product Design, which offers a Bachelor’s degree majoring in Applied Immersive Game Design.

The academics will also work closely with the University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship.

The grant will support three PhD students and a postdoctoral researcher, as well as a game artist to help create content.

The effort will create a pathway to commercialise student and staff projects in applied games created as part of the initiative.

Research team background

The University reached globally to build a team of experts with strong research and entrepreneurial profiles in the fields of immersive technologies and applied gaming. The core of the team is made up of the wife and husband team from Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the Netherlands, and a Professor from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in the United States.

Current University staff members are the other members of the team.

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