What started as a project to enable researchers to virtually dive into their nanophotonics world has morphed into an exciting venture that could soon allow architects and builders and their clients to step directly into their projects.
BanditVR, a venture started by UBC Okanagan PhD student Vincent Loi, is participating in the Entrepreneurship @ UBCO initiative currently underway at The Innovation Centre in downtown Kelowna.
Loi studies the nanostructures of electrochromic coatings and their application for realizing ergonomic smart windows as part of Kenneth Chau’s applied electromagnetics research group.
Together they started a virtual reality project with the goal of visualizing their nano-scale projects on life scales.
Although the original research plans remain intact, the intermediate results of the research have spun-off in a slightly different direction.
“In the pursuit of innovation, you need to balance long-term value with uncovering needs of the market today. The natural direction of research should be driven by the search for ideas, technologies, and processes that have potential impact” explains Chau. “As Vincent was working on this project in the Innovation Centre, some local architects and builders saw what he was doing and asked if he could build a virtual reality version of their projects.”
Thanks to this slight pivot, Loi has been accepted into the entrepreneurship@UBCO Lean LaunchPad Accelerator Program launching in The Innovation Centre this fall. Okanagan region industry and government leaders will also have the opportunity to step into banditVR’s virtual reality world at an Okanagan Regional Innovation Showcase on August 1.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to delve into what it takes to launch an entrepreneurial endeavour” says Loi. “Virtual reality is still so new, and it is an exciting space to work.”