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UW Launches Augmented Reality Research Center

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SEATTLE, Jan. 29, 2018 — The University of Washington (UW) is launching a new augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) research center funded by Facebook, Google and Huawei to accelerate innovation in the field and educate the next generation of researchers and practitioners.

The $6 million UW Reality Lab, funded with equal contributions from the three sponsors, creates one of the world's first academic centers dedicated to AR and VR. The new center will support research and education initiatives with potential to deliver game-changing breakthroughs in the field.

"Allen School faculty have produced pioneering research in many of the areas that underpin AR and VR technologies including computer vision, graphics, perception and machine learning," said Hank Levy, director of the Allen School and Wissner-Slivka chair. "Through our partnership with Facebook, Google and Huawei, the Allen School and UW will be at the forefront of the next great wave of AR and VR innovation, pursuing breakthrough research and educating the next generation of innovators in this exciting and rapidly expanding field."

AR and VR applications are currently making their first steps, mostly focusing on entertainment and games. The goal of the UW Reality Lab is to develop technology to power the next generation of applications that will speak to a wider population. Those ideas range from learning Spanish by seeing objects labeled in your field of view to achieving telepresence by conversing with a remote relative or co-worker as if you were in the same room.

"We're seeing some really compelling and high-quality AR and VR experiences being built today," said Steve Seitz, center co-lead and professor. "But there are still many core research advances needed to move the industry forward – tools for easily creating content, infrastructure solutions for streaming 3D video, and privacy and security safeguards that university researchers are uniquely positioned to tackle."

The UW Reality Lab will bring together an interdisciplinary team of UW faculty, graduate students and undergraduates working in 3D computer vision and perception, object recognition, graphics, game science and education, distributed computing, stream processing, databases, computer architecture, privacy, and security.

The funding will also support new courses and access to state-of-the-art labs and infrastructure for students to develop new technologies and applications.
Jan 2018
BusinessUniversity of WashingtonFacebookGoogleHuaweiUW Reality Labaugmented realityvirtual realitypartnershipsopticsAmericas

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