University of Canterbury Students Experience Virtual Reality by Next-Generation | VR Life

University of Canterbury Students Experience Virtual Reality by Next-Generation


The Human-Interface Technology Lab (HIT Lab NZ) at the University of Canterbury (UC) has been named a founding site for the Crytek VR First initiative, thereby leading the way in next-generation virtual reality and motion capture technology.

UC’s HIT Lab NZ happens to be the only institution in the Southern Hemisphere Crytek has chosen for the initiative. The HIT Lab NZ and UC students will be granted access to the best virtual reality (VR) technology, including VR headsets from HTC, Sony, Samsung and Open Source VR. Motion-capture systems from Leap Motion, HTC and other manufacturers will also be available as part of the agreement.

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Student developers and artists will have access to the incredibly realistic and robust Cryengine platform to roll out their next-generation immersive experiences. “The HIT Lab NZ will provide space for the work to be done and foster a creative vibe among the participants,” says UC Professor Rob Lindeman, Research Leader of the HIT Lab NZ.

The new technology will further strengthen the research infrastructure present at the HIT Lab NZ, including a VR CAVE, augmented reality headsets, full-body motion capture systems, wearable haptic systems, wind feedback systems, as well as a fabrication lab with 3D printers.

“We are so psyched to be part of this initial wave of the VR First initiative,” Prof Lindeman says.

“It allows us to combine our 20+ years of VR research with the leading providers of tools for realistic VR. There is so much call for people who really understand how to work with this new technology, and we are primed to educate the next generation of VR experience designers.”



In a wider sense, the VR First initiative at the HIT Lab NZ will bring closer the creative community in Christchurch by giving those outside the University access to the equipment to enable more collaboration between the University and Christchurch gaming communities.

“There is such a vibrant creative community in Christchurch. We hope that this initiative can help bring more focus to the region, and make it a destination for those wishing to be a part of creating engaging virtual experiences with impact,” Prof Lindeman says.

The HIT Lab NZ will share experiences with the other VR First sites which include the Vancouver Film School (Canada), Rochester Institute of Technology (USA), Purdue University (USA), Carleton University (Canada), School of Cinema Arts at the University of Southern California (USA), University of Florida (USA), California State University Monterey Bay (USA), Bahçeşehir University (Turkey), State University of New York at Oswego (USA), University College London (UK), Kajaanin Ammattikorkeakoulu University of Applied Sciences (Finland), and Manchester Metropolitan University (UK).


The HIT Lab NZ was established in 2003 and it has since placed its focus on supporting people in their everyday lives, at school, work and play through the application of human understanding and cutting-edge technology for virtual reality, augmented reality, gaming and human-robot interaction. You can pursue a graduate degree, be it masters or PhD in the HIT Lab NZ in Human Interface Technology. Much of the work done at the HIT Lab is funded by local, national and international companies and organizations who make use of the HIT Lab’s knowledge and abilities and experience in advanced technology user experience design to help solve real world problems.

Crytek which was established in 1999 and has helped create multiple award-winning titles like the original Far Cry, the Crysis series, Ryse: Son of Rome, andWarface.

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