A new collaboration between local startup Devika and the University of Wollongong's SMART Infrastructure Facility is looking to push the boundaries of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Through their shared purpose SMART and Devika realised how they could bolster the future of Wollongong as a world-leading technology hub, as well as use collaboration to develop technology that could improve people's lives.
Speaking on the collaboration, Ken from Devika said:
"We were impressed with the vision of Rob Gorkin and Pascal Perez at the SMART building. They were refreshingly progressive and ambitious, but importantly shared the same vision of using technology to benefit the region and broader community...It just made a lot of sense to form this collaboration to tackle these problems together."
The SMART facility recognises that the world is currently changing due to the impact of technology and climate change, as well as an ageing population.This means that infrastructure will need to change too. Significantly, one of the most powerful and disruptive technologies in coming years will be augmented and virtual reality. Enter Devika.
Professor Rob Gorkin saw the rapid start-up as a valuable asset to Wollongong's tech community. By supporting the Devika team valuable skills are kept within the local region, giving Wollongong the chance to grow into Australia's “Silicon Beach”. Recently the team moved into the SMART building and has begun running both VR and AR workshops. At the same time, Devika are using VR and AR technology to develop industry solutions.
Devika originally began with a mission to move students from technology consumers to technology creators, running workshops to equip young people with the relevant tech skills for the future. The team specialises in VR, AR, coding, and e-business, using current industry professionals to run their workshops. Having grown significantly since their beginnings, Devika have now branched into creating VR and AR content to tackle problems of the global community, while still providing top-quality tech workshops.
Increasingly innovative, Devika are currently looking to shift the paradigm of learning through people experiencing new technology. The team are continuously looking to increase their presence both domestically and internationally, and are already working with several organisations in both Australia and the US. Currently Devika are working on building a data-visualisation tool of human tissue scans for medical research, as well as developing an experiential VR learning tool - the first of which aims to tackle unconscious bias and gender inequality in workplaces. The pitch for thislearning tool was pivotal in one of their team members being accepted to represent Devika as one of 72 entrepreneurs globally at MIT's Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in March 2017.
The Devika team formed through "a common passion for technology and bettering the world". Their website states that they have global and social ambitions, and apply these ambitions to everything they do. The team come from a range of diverse backgrounds.
UOW’s SMART Infrastructure Facility and Devika are excited by their new collaboration, and are committed to embracing new technology to benefit the region. Through their efforts they hope to accelerate local innovation and develop Wollongong’s tech community for years to come.
Professor Pascal Perez welcomes Ken Kencevksi to the SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong