World-leading researcher appointed

The University of Auckland has welcomed the appointment of a world leader in Augmented Reality (AR), Professor Mark Billinghurst, to its Entrepreneurial Universities programme, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins announced today.

The Entrepreneurial Universities programme aims to bring world-leading innovative academics with commercialisation experience and their teams here to improve links between universities and industry and to develop New Zealand’s pipeline of entrepreneurial students.

“Professor Billinghurst will lead a research team at the University’s Auckland Bioengineering Institute.” Mr Hipkins said.

“Together they will continue their work on Empathetic Computing and how AR and Virtual Reality can be used to enhance face to face and remote collaboration, further strengthening and growing New Zealand’s innovation culture.

“New Zealand is a very attractive place for research but it’s an extremely competitive environment and this scheme helps our universities to attract global talent.

“World-leading academics will bring huge benefits in terms of their knowledge and networks. Our undergraduates can learn from the best, and innovative New Zealand firms can benefit from partnership opportunities with the best of the best in their fields,” Mr Hipkins said.

Over the next three years, the initiative is expected to bring 15-20 world-leading researchers and their teams to New Zealand.

Biography of Professor Mark Billinghurst

Professor Billinghurst has over 20 years’ experience in the field of AR and advanced computer interfaces. This comprises the development of intellectual property, collaborating with industry, licensing and spinning out companies, and venture capital investment.

Co-creator of the Augmented Reality tracking library, ARToolkit, Professor Billinghurst’s open source software tools and applications have been downloaded nearly one million times.  He is the winner of numerous prestigious global awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

He is both a leading AR academic researcher, CEO of an AR company Envisage AR Ltd and actively involved in the AR investment community through SuperVentures, a Silicon Valley based Venture Capital firm that focuses on early stage AR and Virtual Reality (VR) companies.

Notes for editors:

  • Auckland Bioengineering Institute is a world leader in applying the principles of engineering and mathematics to human physiology.    www.abi.auckland.ac.nz
  • ARToolkit is the world's most widely used open source tracking library for augmented reality https://www.artoolkit.org/
  • Envisage AR Ltd is one of the first companies in the world to provide collaborative Mixed Reality applications. https://envisage-ar.com/
  • SuperVentures, a Silicon Valley based Venture Capital firm focuses focus entirely on early stage companies in the AR and VR space, and since opening it has provided millions of dollars of funding into nine start-ups.

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