VR industry 'huge, incredibly exciting'

Scott Cardwell (left) and web developer Josh Lowry try out a drone lent by a client in Auckland....
Scott Cardwell (left) and web developer Josh Lowry try out a drone lent by a client in Auckland. Photo supplied.

Virtual reality is a creative and inspiring industry to be involved in, Scott Cardwell says.

Mr Cardwell, one of the co-founders of Dunedin-based Language Perfect, has established a new company called 6.Pi.r Learning, focused on virtual-reality-based learning.

Its first product was an immersive language tool which dropped users into real-life scenarios to practise basic conversations in the target language.

After completing his university studies, Mr Cardwell's intention had been to go travelling overseas but that got sidelined when he got busy with Language Perfect.

Language Perfect was founded in 2007 by brothers Craig and Shane Smith and Mr Cardwell and was that year's Audacious business challenge winner.

It provides language learning software to secondary software and also led to the spin-off Education Perfect.

Last year, Mr Cardwell had an opportunity to head overseas and he spent six months in Europe.

It was "amazing'' to use some of the language skills he had picked up over the years.

No-one had really built an app for virtual reality focusing on practical language skills and he decided to have a crack at the challenge, he said.

Before moving to Auckland at the beginning of April, he spent six months in his hometown of Blenheim working on the tool.

The idea was that within five minutes of using the tool, the user should be able to go through a scenario such as buying a coffee, ordering a meal or asking for directions.

Globally, virtual reality was a "huge'' and "incredibly exciting'' industry, with "billions'' being pumped into it by the likes of Facebook, HTC, Google and Valve, he said.

The race was now on to create great content, and New Zealand, with a savvy consumer base, was ideally suited to test that technology and then export it to the rest of the world, he said.

Mr Cardwell has a contract to produce virtual-reality-based content for an Auckland school and the city was probably the best place for him to be based at the moment, he said.

He said he kept in touch with the virtual reality community in Dunedin, including developer Josh Lowry, who works at the University of Otago and was doing work for him.

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