THE HANGAR By NUS Enterprise: Feature #1 — Presence Pictures

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Welcome back to our blog! This week, we huddle up close for an exclusive interview with Edmund of Presence Pictures. Check out his start-up journey below!

Tell us more about Presence Pictures and what purpose it serves / problem it solves

Presence Pictures is the youTube for Virtual Reality worlds. VR is an exciting technological advancement for everyone but right now only certain programmers can create VR worlds. I want to empower non-coders with tools that create VR worlds without barriers. So I designed a platform that allows anyone to easily convert his or her 2D or 3D artwork into VR worlds without using a single line of code! Creatives, artists and even you can now bring your artwork literally to life. You no longer watch the character before a screen. You can become that character and start walking, jumping and exploring inside a VR world beyond imagination! All you have to do is to simply upload your file to our Presence platform and it automatically converts your artwork into a VR world for you.

What’s your motivation behind setting up Presence Pictures

I am a coder and always fascinated with emerging technologies. Virtual Reality is one powerful technology that I feel can make a real difference in our collective futures, whether you are teacher, film maker, doctor, property agent, gallery owner, architect, etc. I jumped on the VR bandwagon and started Presence Pictures because I was convinced of the positive influences VR can bring to our society. One good example is my voluntary VR project with Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). As a campaign against animal abuse, I created a virtual world in which a dog was caged up and about to be abused by a stranger. Upon donning my headset, you will immediately be immersed and transported into the cage to become the “dog”. One of my users was affected to tears during the immersion. She experienced the fear and helplessness that the abused dog had suffered and felt really sorry for it. Such VR immersions can send strong messages and create greater empathy in the world we live in.

Let us know your journey thus far — we know the direction pivoted at some point in time and what happened? What are the learning points?

My journey has been amazing. Apart from getting closer to launching my Presence platform and app (by August 2016), I have produced and begun selling my very own Presence VR headsets! Currently headsets available in the market have limitations and are not accessible to the masses. I’ve tried many headsets. The cables are a major obstacle to full immersion for Oculus users and the Samsung Gear VR is only meant for Samsung mobile users. Apart from empowering you with tools that create VR worlds without barriers, I too wanted to let everyone easily own a headset that can be used with your existing phones. In this way, you can view your own VR worlds conveniently anytime anywhere. To help you understand and use Presence platform, I also teach ‘Creating VR Worlds’ at the animation school, CG Protege. My first batch of students have since completed their class and created wonderful VR worlds in under 30 hours without a single line of code. My next class will be conducted this May and June.

Of course I am only able to realise these milestones after loads of hard work, having learnt from a number of failed attempts and having great support from NUS Enterprise who shares my vision for virtual reality and others who believed in me in this journey.

How would you like to see the future of Presence Pictures?

We’re trying to put the ability to create immersive VR worlds into the hands of everyday people. So everyone can jump into the imagination of anyone. We really believe that VR has the potential to change the world.

We are excited about your start-up, what are some of the WIP items?

Currently, we’re hard at work building our platform, headset, and app to be ready for our launch at Siggraph. Besides working hard at for our launch, we’re super excited that our platform will be powering the graduation show at Laselle this May! Laselle’s graduations will be showcasing their animation works through our platform! Besides this, we will be exhibiting at InnovFest unBound 2016 on 17th May. The team came up with a very clever VR experience that should rock your VR world. So please drop by our booth at Innovfest!

Can we please try on your VR gadget — if yes, how should we go about doing it?

Definitely! It’s hard to fathom virtual reality just by reading this so the best way to experience VR is to try it with my headset! I have not started retailing my headset in physical stores. Drop me an email at edmund@presence.pictures and I’ll arrange a demo session for you. You should also register your interest on my website www.Presence.Pictures so you can be kept abreast of my developments and future talks.

Thanks, Edmund, for the interview!

Presence Pictures is based at THE HANGAR By NUS Enterprise, 21 Heng Mui Keng Terrace.

They will be showcasing their gadget at the upcoming innovation and start-up conference, InnovFest unBound 2016 (17–18 May 2016) held at Marina Bay Sands. For more information on the exciting line-up of activities at the conference, log on to www.innovfestunbound.com.

NUS Enterprise nurtures entrepreneurial talents with global mindsets, while advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at Asia’s leading university.

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