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NYC to create virtual reality development lab, seeks public-private partnership

The city's economic development corporation is getting into

The city's economic development corporation is getting into the virtual reality game with its first public development lab. Above, EDC President Maria Torres-Springer tests out a VR program with Brian Chirls of datavized. Photo Credit: Ivan Pereira

The city’s economic development corporation announced Wednesday that it is seeking operators for the first-ever public lab for virtual reality and augmented reality development.

EDC President Maria Torres-Springer said the industry has seen a 125 percent increase in job demand over the past year and it would get a boost from a public-private partnership.

“We have to do everything we can to supercharge our tech ecosystems,” she said.

The lab, which will be up and running sometime by the end of 2017, will bring VR and AR start ups together in a shared place where they can develop their technologies, meet with investors and train future developers. The city will invest $6 million into the lab and the winning applicant will also provide an amount of funding to be decided after approval, according to Torres-Springer.

Kurt Becker, the vice dean of research, innovation and entrepreneurship at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, said the creation of the lab is a bold step for the already robust New York tech industry.

“By putting public money in front of (VR/AR) people, they are challenging the entire entrepreneur and academic world to step up to the plate,” Becker said of the city.


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