Story image

The University of Auckland gets its own AR expert

One of the world’s pioneers in researching and commercialising Augmented Reality (AR) will join the University of Auckland (UoA) under the Entrepreneurial Universities programme established by the previous government.

Professor Mark Billinghurst, who co-founded ARToolWorks, one of the first AR companies, is the second appointee under the Entrepreneurial programme to join the University’s Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI).

ABI director Peter Hunter says, “Mark will add hugely to our capability in AR.

“He will bring a range of skills that are very complementary to work going on across the ABI, including the avatar work of Professor Mark Sagar in our Laboratory for Animate Technologies.”

Billinghurst’s commercialisation in AR stems back to his PhD at the University of Washington in 2000 when he co-created the ARToolkit Augmented Reality tracking software. 

ARToolKit was the first open source library for AR and solved the two important problems of camera tracking and interaction for AR. 

It quickly grew to be one of the most popular open source AR software for researchers and developers.

Professor Billinghurst then founded and became director of the University of Canterbury’s HIT Lab NZ, a research institute studying the future of human-computer interfaces. 

A total of nine companies have since spun out from his time there, including Quiver, which developed the world’s first AR colouring book.  

In addition to efforts in AR commercialisation, Billinghurst is very well known for his research in AR, stretching back over two decades. 

He has more publications than any other AR researcher in the world and has developed a number of world firsts, such as the first AR teleconferencing applications, collaborative mobile phone AR experiences, mobile AR advertising campaign, and AR MagicBook technology. 

He also maintains commercial interests as CEO of Envisage AR Ltd and is a founding Partner at SuperVentures, a venture capitalist firm based in Silicon Valley.

Billinghurst is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in recognition of his work on AR commercialisation and technology transfer and has won numerous national and international awards recognising his global leadership in AR research and commercialisation.

At ABI Billinghurst will lead a research team comprising a senior research scientist, postdoctoral researcher and three PhD students. 

He will be conducting research on Empathic Computing, developing telepresence technology that will help remote people to better share their experiences and understand how they are feeling.

Billinghurst says, “I am very excited by this opportunity to join the University of Auckland and especially the ABI. 

“My research group will be exploring how AR can be combined with physiological sensing to provide next-generation teleconferencing experiences.”

“ABI is a world leader in physiological sensing and so is a natural place for my group to be conducting their research, UoA is also outstanding at commercialisation, so I am looking forward to working with UniServices to create commercial outcomes of the research.”

How blockchain will impact NZ’s economy
Distributed ledgers and blockchain are anticipated to provide a positive uplift to New Zealand’s economy.
25% of malicious emails still make it through to recipients
Popular email security programmes may fail to detect as much as 25% of all emails with malicious or dangerous attachments, a study from Mimecast says.
Human value must be put back in marketing - report
“Digital is now so widely adopted that its novelty has worn off. In their attempt to declutter, people are being more selective about which products and services they incorporate into their daily lives."
Wine firm uses AR to tell its story right on the bottle
A Central Otago wine company is using augmented reality (AR) and a ‘digital first’ strategy to change the way it builds its brand and engages with customers.
DigiCert conquers Google's distrust of Symantec certs
“This could have been an extremely disruptive event to online commerce," comments DigiCert CEO John Merrill. 
Protecting organisations against internal fraud
Most companies tend to take a basic approach that focuses on numbers and compliance, without much room for grey areas or negotiation.
Telesmart to deliver Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams
The integration will allow Telesmart’s Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams to natively enable external voice connectivity from within Teams collaborative workflow environment.
Jade Software & Ambit take chatbots to next level of AI
“Conversation Agents present a huge opportunity to increase customer and employee engagement in a cost-effective manner."