Industry calls on entrepreneurs to develop AR and VR applications

A newly launched industry-backed competition is encouraging UK entrepreneurs to develop new applications for virtual and augmented reality technology (VR and AR).

Established through Innovate UK’s IC Tomorrow program, the initiative is calling on innovators to submit ideas on how VR and AR could be used in sectors including construction, healthcare, retail and education.

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Winning entries will receive a share of a £210,000 prize fund and get the chance to work with key names from these sectors on the development of their technology. They will also retain 100 per cent of their IP.

One of the organisations backing the project is the group behind Crossrail, Europe’s biggest infrastructure project, which has been already used AR to support the visualisation of project delivery and is keen to develop further applications.  

Marie Gilmour, Crossrail Innovation Programme Manager, said: “Crossrail…is excited about this opportunity to find new applications of AR/VR technologies that could potentially contribute to a significant change in how construction projects are delivered, further enhancing the UK’s ability to deliver the major projects of the future.”

Other industry partners include John Lewis, which is keen to explore opportunities in in immersive retail and London’s Queen Mary University, where researchers are said to be interested in using AR and VR to enhance medical training and care.  

Matt Sansam, programme manager at IC tomorrow, said:  “Successful applicants will use AR/VR to re-shape the way we approach many industrial and technical challenges, such as bridging the gap between online and in-store shopping experiences to help British retailers, or empowering healthcare professionals to carry out remote diagnosis and virtual training.”

The deadline for applications is 12pm, Tuesday 18 August 2015. Shortlisted entries will be invited to a live pitch and Q&A with a panel of judges. The final trial launch for successful applicants is scheduled to take place in summer 2016.