An Australian startup is working on a product that lets Oculus Rift users 'feel'

Realm team. Image: Supplied.

In what has become a startup cliche, working from a garage in Paddington, three Sydney guys have launched their attempt to commercialise gaming tech developed in a British university.

“There’s about four of us working out of it. It’s a nice garage,” company co-founder Matt Long said. “It’s a well kitted out garage.”

The company, which is called Realm, adds resistance to video gaming for a more physical gaming experience.

Today it launched a Kickstarter campaign aiming to raise $160,000 to get the tech out into the market and figure out how it could be used.

“We’re using Kickstarter because it’s a great platform for getting in front of as many of the great developers as possible,” he said.

This morning it already had 13 backers and just over $2,000 pledged.

Here’s the video.

The tech combines a gaming controller and resistance bands which measure a player’s three-dimensional force which means energy expenditure can be used in the design of video games. But Long says that’s not its only use and he’s hoping by running the campaign and getting the tech out into the hands of developers they can figure out some alternative commercialisation strategies.

“In the technology world, a lot of those developers, the really good developers, are in the gaming world,” he said.

“We’ve got this technology but what we need is the applications to be applied to the tech,” he said, adding they think it has applications across health, fitness and gaming.

“It’s a little hard in the sense that there’s so many possibilities that we don’t really want to head down any particular path… it’s more who wants to be involved,” he said.

“Other sectors will watch the gaming world to see what falls out of it.”

Back in 2012, virtual reality developers Oculus Rift also launched their developer kits on Kickstarter. The company was acquired by Facebook last year in a $2 billion deal. Long is hoping for a similar path to glory for Realm and has made sure the two systems integrate.

“Even with things like Oculus, when they launched they focus on things like the gaming world because that’s where the brightest minds are,” he said.

“Integrating the Realm System with Oculus Rift means you can now see your body in a virtual reality world and and feel the resistance as you swing a sword, open a door, throw a punch and so on. You can interact with the environment in a physical way, just like the real world.”

Realm is an example of how technology which emerges from the academic world has the potential to be commercialised. It’s something the Abbott Government has been focusing on with its competitiveness agenda unveiled last year, aiming to link research and industry.

Realm was developed in response to a UK Government initiative which wanted to develop health intervention solutions for people who had sedentary lifestyles. It was a six-year, $US4 million research project which included clinical trials and peer reviews at Teeside University in Middlesborough, North East England.

“Being a university they like to keep researching,” Long said, adding they didn’t really commercialise ideas well because that wasn’t their area of focus.

“We’ve licensed the tech worldwide and we’ve employed the guys from the university. We’re developing the software kits,” Long said, adding the $150,000 Kickstarter target was the breakeven cost of distributing 600 developer kits.

Making the tech open-source will help gauge market interest.

Once the Kickstarter campaign finishes, people will be able to buy the kits from Realm’s site.

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