23 February 2019
Motive Force CEO Terence Tseng expects AR learning systems to become less expensive once they become popular and gain more users. Photo: HKEJ
Motive Force CEO Terence Tseng expects AR learning systems to become less expensive once they become popular and gain more users. Photo: HKEJ

HK startup combines coding and AR to create teaching aids

During Apple’s upcoming product event in September, a pair of augmented reality (AR) smart glasses could be in the spotlight, apart from the much-anticipated the 10th anniversary edition of the iPhone, according to reports.

The American tech giant’s chief executive, Tim Cook, has said more than once that he is optimistic about AR and that his firm will invest in the field.

Meanwhile, some observers even believe that it is possible for AR glasses to replace smartphones in the long term, emerging as the next flourishing trend of mobile gadgets.

According to a report released by global market intelligence firm IDC in early August, the market for augmented reality and virtual reality (VR) products could reach US$215 billion in five years, from US$11.4 billion in 2017. That means compound annual growth rate of 113.2 percent.

Teaching aids powered by AR

As sales of AR and VR products have been on the rise, Mad Gaze, a Hong Kong developer of AR smart glasses, is taking on international players in the hardware market.

Meanwhile, Motive Force Technology, a Hong Kong startup that is involved in the VirCube AR platform, is looking to incorporate coding software into AR glasses to produce a wide range of teaching resources driven by AR technology.

Equipped with sensors and projectors and a 270 degree vision, users of VirCube glasses will feel as if they are amid real locations such as roads, homes or laboratories.

Using such technology, primary school teachers can, for instance, teach pupils as to how to react to various sudden incidents on the roads, Motive Force CEO Terence Tseng pointed out. 

As the system is also compatible with a lot of the existing software, pupils can make relevant objects with the compatible software, he said. For instance, pupils can design objects with other graphics software first and then embed the objects produced into different scenes.

Likewise, the AR teaching material applications can be extended to different industries including architecture, offering assistance to architects in making models, and to interior designers for help in creating graphics.

Founded in July last year, Motive Force is operating from the Hong Kong Science Park, which offers assistance in reaching different types of educational organizations.

The average cost of this system is at least about HK$300,000. 

But Tseng expects the cost to drop as AR learning becomes popular.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 16

Translation by Jonathan Chong

[Chinese version 中文版]

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