Innovative Young Minds 2020 has truly lived up to its name this year, adapting to an online version of its STEM outreach programme, targeted towards young kiwi women.
As a part of this year’s newly designed online programme, participants heard from Terry Miller, cofounder of Eight360 and 2019’s Young Engineer of the Year.
Eight360 is a start-up business based in Petone, built on a hobby project that explores the capabilities of Virtual Reality (VR). The result is a fleet of motion simulator VR experiences, carried out using rolling ball technology to model real life movement that’s felt in cars and aeroplanes. This is a great technology that helped students to understand what it feels like when learning to drive or fly, but without the danger of real-life crashes. Eight360 is thriving, talking to companies like Boeing and NASA for support behind their VR motion simulator.
Miller was very passionate about the Eight360 project and spoke to the 2020 IYM cohort about his career and how Eight360 lead him to being New Zealand’s Young Engineer of the Year 2019. He talked about how the project went through multiple iterations to be built into what it is today. It wasn’t easy, and most of the time they were working out of leaky garages, but they believed in the VR motion simulator and sought to improve on it in each iteration. Eight360 is now offering demonstrations to people such as former Mayor of Wellington, Justin Lester, so it’s fair to say their perseverance paid off.
Participants attending the animated and exciting speaker sesssion asked Miller many questions about his motivation and what he learned from it. He answered with some advice to the participants:
Find something which you find exciting and are passionate about”.
He believed in the potential of his product and that kept him motivated through hard times. Another piece of advice was to get a team behind you that know what they’re doing. He found that going to University was valuable to him because it taught him how to learn.
IYM participants showed great enthusiasm for Miller and the Eight360 project and were very grateful to have heard him speak about his experiences in the engineering field.
Author: Sophie, Science student at Victoria University of Wellington.