Photo: Student testing out some AR/VR equipment

At a moment when virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) concepts are bursting into the world, New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering is creating real-life solutions to improve the human condition. The school joined the city and other universities and institutions to open a new lab, which will be operational later this year. The initiative is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s New York Works plan to position the city as a global hub for VR/AR innovation; NYU’s role will be to manage and operate the lab and keep it front and center as one of the country’s most forward-thinking and innovative engineering and technology science centers in the nation.

“Augmented and virtual reality represents a huge new industry, and we want New York City to be second to none. We’re investing in the space, the talent and the research needed to make New York the global hub for this emerging technology. This is a significant piece of our strategy to spur 100,000 good-paying jobs in 10 years – and particularly in creative and entrepreneurial sectors that speak to our City’s current and future generations. Equal opportunity and access, through education and job training, is the bedrock of our jobs strategy, and together we will continue to rise.”

  – Mayor Bill de Blasio (via press release)

The lab, located at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, will directly create 500 jobs over 10 years. It’s supported with a $6 million investment by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Other partners include CUNY Lehman College’s VR/AR Training Academy and Development Lab in the Bronx, Columbia University and The New School.

When fully operational, the lab will, among other things:

  • Support new ventures by providing space, equipment, infrastructure and startup capital, as well as networking with community of mentors and investors.
  • Increase access and expand the talent pipeline by offering hands-on learning opportunities, apprenticeships, and scholarships for students.
  • Become a hub for the AR/VR community, including investors, university researchers, cross-industry leaders, and civic and cultural partners.
  • Spark corporate VR/AR innovation by offering membership and consulting services.
Group Photo

Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor of Housing & Economic Development, unveiled the new virtual reality and augmented reality hub at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. From left: Jane MacKillop, Interim Dean of Lehman College's School of Continuing and Professional Studies; Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, Dean of NYU Tandon; Glen; Council Member Dan Garodnick, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development; James Patchett, NYCEDC President and CEO; and Julie Menin, Media and Entertainment Commissioner.

At an event announcing the new lab, Tandon Dean Katepalli R. Sreenivasan thanked those who made it possible and offered the expertise from the entire NYU community, students and faculty alike, across the intellectual spectrum.

“Our students and faculty are already immersed in projects that range from 3D brain scans to smart buildings and first real-time VR for large audiences. We are eager to begin applying the knowledge we have gathered over nearly a decade working with the City on initiatives such as the NYC Media Lab and the Future Lab entrepreneurial network to drive similar successes on this technological frontier.”

  – Tandon Dean Katepalli R. Sreenivasan