Interverse Virtual Reality Challenge (IVRC)
Greeting from the Executive Committee Chair
IVRC Executive Committee Chair Masahiko Inami (Professor, University of Tokyo)
In the year 2020, I have been appointed as the second IVRC Executive Committee Chair.
In 1993, when I was in my fourth year of undergraduate school, the “First Inter-Collegiate Virtual Reality Contest” (IVRC) was held. As I had been developing various VR devices with my friends in the university robotics club, I immediately decided to participate in the IVRC as it was a great opportunity for us.
We were fortunate enough to win the first prize and the Technology Award. I had only known the names of leading researchers, media artists, and companies in books and papers, but I was moved by the experience of having them experience the system I had created, and receiving their kind comments. This year, 27 years later, the situation surrounding VR has changed dramatically. It is no longer only important to create VR, but also to understand how to utilize it.
With the spread of the new coronavirus, various events have been cancelled or scaled back one after another, and events and lectures are now being held online. In such a situation, the importance of VR, which enables communication with physicality, is increasing further.
Considering the above historical background, and after discussions with the new executive committee members, we have decided to significantly reform the IVRC. The following are the three principles that make IVRC what it is, and the three new challenges.
Three Basic Principles of IVRC
IVRC is a “gateway to success”
IVRC encourages you to take on challenges that have yet to be named, to realize something that only you can imagine, and to bring it to the people.
IVRC is a “community”
It has been 27 years since the IVRC was established, and people who have participated in the IVRC in the past, including myself, are now active in a variety of industries and fields. We believe that the great value of IVRC lies in the community of judges, executive committee members, alumni, contestants, and sponsors who share a common perspective on the future of VR.
IVRC is “IVRC”
The IVRC has changed its name from the original “Intercollegiate Virtual Reality Contest” to the “International VR Contest”, and the “I” in IVRC has been used in different ways such as Intercollegiate and International. The IVRC will continue to be “IVRC” in the future. However, in the future, we would like to be an interverse that connects not only multiple countries and organizations, but also multiple spaces, and an incubation that nurtures students. I also see VR in a broader sense that includes the fields known as xR, such as augmented reality (AR), diminished reality (DR), and mixed reality (MR). This is the same view as that of the Virtual Reality Society of Japan.
The IVRC’s unchanging tradition is to break down the stereotypes of VR and to seek the VR of the future.
Three Challenges of the IVRC
The IVRC will change from a “contest” to a “challenge”.
Traditionally, the IVRC has been a place for people to express their desires to create and express themselves to the point where they cannot stand still, rather than competing within the rules set by someone else. Therefore, the IVRC will be reborn as the “VR Challenge,” where each team’s challenge will be evaluated and honored from various perspectives, instead of the conventional contest where the teams are ranked in order. IVRC will also take on the challenge of holding an “Interverse” where individual participants, judges, and the audience are connected online without having to physically gather at the venue.
IVRC will have two stages, “SEED STAGE” and “LEAP STAGE”, with “SEED STAGE” as the main event.
As mentioned above, the value of the IVRC lies in its community. In the past, when the event was held in Gifu Prefecture, there were opportunities for teams to stay overnight and interact with each other day and night. We see the “SEED STAGE,” which is equivalent to the conventional qualifying round, as a place to nurture people and build a community. By holding the event while collaborating with annual convention of Virtual Reality Society of Japan held throughout Japan, and by holding a social event that also serves as a preview, we plan to increase opportunities for contestants to interact with judges, executive committee members, alumni/alumnae, and sponsor companies beyond the framework of their teams. We plan to increase the number of opportunities for contestants to interact with judges, committee members, alumni, and sponsors. In FY2020, we are planning to hold a VR event using online tools.
The “LEAP STAGE” is a stage that will be launched to the world. It will be supported by sponsor companies that have interacted with the SEED STAGE, and will also support challenges that involve the cooperation of multiple teams.
The IVRC will have a new judging system.
In order to evaluate the challenges of the participants from multiple perspectives, the IVRC will be joined by a panel of endowed judges who are active in various fields, in addition to a council-style award selection committee. Each member of the jury will be a connoisseur and will select the award that bears the name of the jury member. The IVRC Grand Prix will be decided at the “LEAP STAGE”, but we hope that you will aim to win a prize named after one of the judges.
As described above, the IVRC will support the challenges of students more strongly than ever before.
- Challenge yourself to find “something” that has not yet been expressed in words.
- Make friends to create “something”
- Embodying and spreading “something” to the world
This is what we want IVRC to be. We look forward to seeing your entries in the new IVRC. If you are a company, please support our challenge as a sponsor.