At this year’s TEDxBinghamtonUniversity event, two students will take the stage to tell attendees why they should embrace virtual reality technology.
Sophomores Kyrin Pollock and Matthew Gill will be speaking together about Enhance VR, their virtual reality start-up that is housed under the Binghamton University department of research and entrepreneurship. Their talk will focus both on explaining their business and research, and debunking what they believe are negative associations people have with virtual reality technology.
Keeping with the title of the student speaker application process, “The Pitch,” Gill said that they were hoping to both pitch their business and expose the public to the importance of virtual reality.
“What most people think of virtual reality isn’t true,” Gill said. “They think it’s a person playing a video game in a room locked away, they think it means cutting yourself off. Really, virtual reality can open us up to so much more.”
Gill, who is majoring in electrical engineering, and Pollock, who is majoring in biomedical engineering, are part of the four-person team behind Enhance VR. The company uses office space in Old Dickinson that is designated for student entrepreneurs, but does not receive funding from the University. They support themselves mainly through competition prizes.
While Enhance VR does not have a formal product right now, they are in the process of completing a two degrees of motion simulator. Two degrees of motion technology allows a person to tilt side to side as well as forward and backward. Gill said that coupled with an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, their system simulates racing any type of car on any race track in the world.
Gill and Pollock said that while they aim to use their technology in settings outside of gaming, this first system is a way for them to showcase their skills. With their start-up, they said, they hope to eventually offer resources to revolutionize teaching methods and communication by making them more hands-on.
“We can open up a classroom and throw students in there, put a headset on them and have them see and experience an event in history in real time,” Gill said.
The two were chosen out of 66 applicants and seven finalist presentations. Kaitlyn Brouillet, a TEDxBinghamtonUniversity organizer and a junior majoring in business administration, said that their topic was unique and stood out throughout the process.
“I can’t wait to see their talk unfold,” Brouillet said. “Their pitch immediately pulled us in and I can’t wait for the audience to learn about what virtual reality has to offer.”
Gill and Pollock decided to do their talk together so that they could both present and demonstrate their virtual reality technology. They said that although one person could have done the talk, they wanted to present in a unique way and provide the audience with examples as well as information.
“We want to publicize how much of a difference virtual reality can make, especially in education, and gaining a global perspective on the world,” Pollock said. “When talking about virtual reality, not a lot of people know its potential. We thought that by making it more public, it would improve that mindset a lot.”
Brouillet said that this will inspire students and can introduce the audience to technology that has the potential to revolutionize the future of learning and innovation.
“These two are a part of something that can change the way we educate ourselves and understand the world,” Brouillet said. “Virtual reality seems like something out the future, but it’s making changes in our world today.”
TEDxBinghamton University’s speakers will take the Osterhout Concert Theater in March.