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Epic Games and Wellcome Trust Launch The Big Data VR Challenge

Virtual reality (VR) technology has a large amount of applications that are almost immediately obvious. Enhancing the handling and use of big data isn’t something that stands out when one first thinks of those applications. That’s why Epic Games, the company behind the popular Unreal Engine 4, and The Wellcome Trust are teaming up to launch ‘The Big Data VR Challenge’, prompting videogame developers to come up with intuitive ways to interact with and make connections between large amounts of data.


The Challenge seeks to find a means of effectively handling huge amounts of data for use by scientific communities. Videogame developers have been identified as ideal candidates for the challenge due to their experience in already handling big data. The end result could be hugely beneficial to a number of industries, providing people with the tools to work with data much more effectively.

Starting today, VR developers can register interest to take part in the challenge by sending an email over to BigDataVR@bastion.co.uk. Applications will be accepted until midnight GMT on 31st March 2015. From there, six teams will be selected to take part in a kick-off workshop in London, UK on 9th April. Each team will receive $5,000 USD to cover out of pocket expenses. The Challenge will come to an end during the Developer Conference in Brighton, UK from 14th – 16th July. One winner will be awarded $20,000.

“Year on year, the games industry continues to improve the science behind these amazing pieces of entertainment,” Epic Games European Territory Manager Mike Gamble said of the Challenge. “The calculations required to recreate a lifelike environment are enormous. Our latest demo enables a player to explore more than 250 square kilometers of open terrain which is all generated in real time, something that would have been unthinkable as little as two years ago. Game developers are continually pushing the boundaries of what is possible, which in a way gives them a strong affinity with science researchers who are trying to define the unknown.”

VRFocus will continue to follow the progress of The Big Data VR Challenge, reporting back with any further updates on it.

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