'The next Internet': AR/VR Garage and the realities of virtual realities

As its name suggests, Techweek is about, well, tech. And when it comes to tech, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) has been a “hot topic” for a while.

Much ink has been spilled – and carpal tunnel syndrome worsened by endless hours of typing furiously – about the implications of AR and VR, and how it’s poised to change everything from entertainment to the travel industry, psychology, finance, and more. Likewise, we at Idealog have written a fair bit about the AR/VR Garage, and how the space could help Aotearoa become a world leader in an industry that could be worth $200 billion (that’s billion, with a “B”) by 2020.

But when the folks at the AR/VR Garage declare that the 10 days of events that’ll be taking place at their collaborative facility comprises their biggest initiative yet, it’s worth a story. Unsurprisingly, events and community manager Belinda Hope says it’s a pretty big deal. “We’ve got two major focuses,” she explains. “One is entertainment. And the other is how businesses can solve their problems with virtual reality or augmented reality solutions.”

Begun on Friday with a live podcast, other events taking place include a Minecraft VR experience, demonstrations and talks by the likes of HTC, Lego and Flexo (who Idealog wrote about here), and even a tournament to see who can solve a Rubik’s Cube the fastest (featuring world record holder Feliks Zemdegs).

While the public is more than welcome to attend the events and learn about VR, Hope says a big part is also showing businesses and entrepreneurs what VR and AR can do. And she’s not exactly shy about the reasons why.

“I think this is the next Internet.”

The complete list of events can be found here.

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