The Bristol Virtual Reality Lab has been awarded £295,000 to create a space at the Leadworks on Anchor Square for SMEs to undertake research and development work in VR and AR, making it one of the first such facilities in the UK. The funding comes from the West of England Joint Committee and the Local Growth Fund.
Bristol VR Lab is a collaboration between the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England with Watershed and Opposable VR, the organisers of VR World Congress. Partners in the VR Lab include the BBC, Bath Spa University and We The Curious.
A Focal Point For Future Generations
Ben Trewhella, Bristol VR Lab director said, “This investment establishes Bristol and the South West region as a key player in the emerging technologies of Virtual and Augmented Reality. It builds upon a tradition of companies including Aardman, Airbus, the BBC and Sony developing the future of entertainment and business in the area, and secures the city as a focal point for future generations entering the high tech industries. We’re incredibly excited to be involved in managing the facility and looking forward to see the new businesses and creative projects are created around it.”
Stimulating Economic Growth
Professor Steve West, interim Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership said, “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support this innovative project using Local Growth Fund money. This is an innovative project that will stimulate economic growth, support business investment and create jobs. Importantly this is about exploring opportunities VR potentially provides for education and a range of industry sectors which are concerned with immersive and simulation technologies.”
Catalysing A World Class Cluster
Verity McIntosh, Studio Managing Producer at Watershed said, “VR, AR and MR have become potent tools for creativity with artists, SMEs, technologists and researchers starting to make transformative work in these fields, but often struggling to gain traction without access to specialist equipment, testing space, and an active community of potential collaborators and investors. This new hub space affords WoE the opportunity to coalesce and catalyse a world-class cluster of interdisciplinary activity around immersive realities.”
The new Lab will open in January 2018, with bookable sessions in November and December to preview the facilities while they are being kitted out.