Three big industry players in the augmented- and virtual-reality world are giving the University of Washington $6 million to create an academic center dedicated to the field.
The University of Washington has received $6 million in private money to create what it’s billing as the world’s first academic center dedicated to virtual and augmented reality.
The money comes in equal parts from Facebook, Google and the Chinese company Huawei, which is the largest telecommunications-equipment manufacturer in the world.
The center, which will be called the UW Reality Lab, will be based in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, and will support research and education initiatives.
So far, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have largely focused on gaming and entertainment, but there’s interest in taking the technology to a wider audience. For example, it could be used to help people learn a foreign language, or have a conversation with someone as if both speakers were in the same room, the UW says.
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In a statement, Allen School professor Steve Seitz said that to move AR and VR to the next level, there’s a need to invent new tools that allow developers to easily create content, figure out infrastructure solutions for streaming 3D video, and develop privacy and security safeguards. The university is well positioned to help with those advances, he said.
The lab will work on 3D computer vision and perception, object recognition, graphics, game science and education, distributed computing, stream processing, databases, computer architecture, and privacy and security. It also will teach about AR and VR and give students access to a lab to develop new technologies and applications.