ALUMNI UPDATE: EIGHT360 - Lightning Lab

Eight 360 is the brainchild of Terry Miller and George Heather-Smith. Terry and George are two of our awesome 1st Assembly residents, working out of our Lower Hutt space. 

We caught up with Terry to find out more about their venture and to talk all things tech.

For those that don’t know, what does Eight360 do?

Eight360 is combining the latest tech with innovative kiwi thinking to build the future of entertainment.

Virtual reality promises a new way to deliver experiences like never before, but to be truly immersive it needs to feel as real as it looks – and that’s where we come in.

The NOVA is a world-first, completely untethered VR simulator platform that we have developed over the last 4 years. The design offers truly unlimited motion; this means that whether you are doing a barrel roll in a jet fighter or going through the loop on a roller-coaster, you can get closer than ever.

How has 1st Assembly helped you?

As a small team with limited resources, the help we’ve received from 1st Assembly has been huge.

As a first-time founder, taking a leap of faith and learning as I go, the business advice and coaching I received have been a great resource. The incubation support has been incredible – being able to concentrate on getting our product rolling and our business off the ground, rather than bills and admin has made a big difference in getting this far.

In the space, all residents are working on their own thing, across a wide range of industries. They are all really interesting people, working on awesome projects and it’s just a really amazing and inspiring atmosphere to be in.

How have new technologies affected Eight360 and the way you’re working?

Thanks to the maker movement and the democratisation of technology, there’s a never-ending stream of new tech, new products, and new resources to build bigger and better inventions, faster and cheaper than ever.

Being able to buy cheap electronics parts from a hundred different hobbyist websites means that almost anything we need to build can be prototyped or hacked together really easily.

With online marketplaces like AliExpress connecting us directly to suppliers and manufacturers in China, we have pretty much anything you could think of available at the click of a button. If we need custom electronics we can get our own circuit boards printed overseas and delivered to the door.

If nothing else, the internet contains instructions on how to do just about anything you could dream of, just a google away.

Stepping away from manufacturing, what new technologies are you keeping an eye on – and why?

New awesome tech keeps popping up, enabling things which were never possible before, and as an unreformed geek I reserve the right to obsess over high-tech witchcraft at every opportunity; but technology not all about shiny toys.

The human race faces many challenges and threats to our existence (often self-inflicted). I see technology as the only realistic way we’re going to solve those problems, from climate change and pollution to resilient infrastructure and resource security.

Mainstream zero-carbon transportation, cheap space travel, and ubiquitous renewable energies are the three main pillars of the revolution – it is no coincidence that Elon Musk is leading the charge on all three.

That being said, an Iron Man suit would be pretty sweet.

Any other learnings you’d like to share with other entrepreneurs and aspiring product-people?

The future is now, and it’s being constantly updated. Technology moves so fast that there are new possibilities and new opportunities opening up all the time.

Don’t be afraid you don’t know what you’re doing. You can’t be taught how to build something that doesn’t exist yet, and when you’re working with bleeding-edge tech there is no roadmap to follow!

Trust yourself and your vision. Go create something awesome. Remember… a scientist asks “why?”, an engineer asks “why not?”

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CHQ Incubation
Eight360 builds world-class interactive and immersive motion simulator platforms and virtual reality content for training and entertainment applications.