Innovate UK

IC tomorrow launches £210k prize to find innovative VR & AR ideas

IC tomorrow has announced a new £210,000 contest to encourage UK digital businesses to innovate in the fields of augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR).  With the AR & VR markets expected to reach $150bn revenue in the next 5 years (according the Digi-Capital), it’s a ripe sector for startups and small businesses to come up with inventive new ways to use the technology. That’s why this new fund has been set up to invite these companies to trial their AR/VR ideas for  music, retail, healthcare, education, construction and tactile technology.

As well as a share of the funding, the six winners will enjoy valuable partnerships with industry leaders including Crossrail, John Lewis, Pearson plc, Columbia Records, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) with Enteric HTC and Royal London Hospital, and King’s College London with Konica Minolta and Ericsson.

The winning entrepreneurs will keep 100% of their IP, as well as receiving mentoring and promotion to help bring their solutions to market. The six categories and their respective partners include:

  • Smart construction– Crossrail
  • Immersive retail– John Lewis
  • Enhanced medical training and care– Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), Enteric HTC and Royal London Hospital
  • Next-generation vocational education– Pearson plc
  • Tactile experiences– King’s College London, Konica Minolta and Ericsson
  • Amplified music experiences– Columbia Records

Matt Sansam, programme manager at IC tomorrow, said: “The re-emergence of virtual and augmented reality is attracting a lot of attention, with pioneering start-ups like Surreal Vision leading the way in the UK. But the potential for innovation goes far beyond gaming and entertainment. Successful applicants will use AR/VR to re-shape the way we approach many industrial and technical challenges, such as bridging the gap between online and in-store shopping experiences to help British retailers, or empowering healthcare professionals to carry out remote diagnosis and virtual training. In launching this contest, we are looking to nurture original, creative ideas that have the potential to stimulate the economy and drive growth.”

The deadline for applications is 12pm, Tuesday 18 August 2015. Shortlisted entries will be invited to a live pitch and Q&A with a panel of judges. The final trial launch for successful applicants is scheduled to take place in summer 2016.

Full information on the contest is also available at

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