Business partners Mackenzie Reardon (left) and Tristan Uechtritz
Business partners Mackenzie Reardon (left) and Tristan Uechtritz Contributed

How virtual reality could save lives, stop mine accidents

WHEN Tristan Uechtritz put on a virtual reality helmet and experienced that bold new world for the first time, he cried.

Two weeks later, the then 16-year-old was "all in", joining young Sunshine Coast entrepreneur Mackenzie "Macca" Reardon in his quest to bring VR experiences to commercial clients.

Sippy Downs resident Mackenzie, now 20, and Yaroomba resident Tristan, 18, are creating virtual experiences for the construction, mining and property industries.

They run Innate Media, which has taken them as far as Fiji, where they recently created a VR experience for construction giant Hall Contracting.

"We did a demonstration - a tour of their dredge operations in Lautoka, and they're taking that experience all over the Pacific - showing delegates and potential clients what they do," Mackenzie said.


Business partners Mackenzie Reardon (left) and Tristan Uechtritz
Business partners Mackenzie Reardon (left) and Tristan Uechtritz at Lautoka on board Hall Contracting's dredge. Contributed

The immersive technology has sound and 360 visual content, and Innate Media uses it to create a life-like experience that showcases what a company does.

"We supply our clients with a virtual reality headset, so it doesn't require computers," he said.

"It can be transported all around the world with the content on it."

He said Hall Contracting's feedback had been "really positive".

"Normally they would have to fly someone out (to see a work site)... so they're not only sharing an experience with someone, they're saving money and time," Mackenzie said.

Tristan grew up in Melbourne, where he honed his passion for photography and film doing party shoots and videoing formals and functions.

"I knew nothing about VR until I met Macca," Tristan said.


Business partners Tristan Uechtritz (left) and Mackenzie Reardon
Business partners Tristan Uechtritz (left) and Mackenzie Reardon, of Innate Media, at an airport in Fiji where they caught a chartered plane to a private island resort to explore a new opportunity. Contributed

In 2017 he moved to the Coast and after doing the Generation Innovation entrepreneurship challenge, met Mackenzie.

"When Macca put me in my first ever VR experience I cried," he said.

"I was happy - I saw huge opportunity and thought, 'wow this is amazing'.

"I just put the headset on and I felt like I was in a new world. That was really cool.

"I fell in love with it instantly."

Innate Media is now working to improve safety in the industries they service, Tristan said.

"There's a big shift in safety for mining recently, so we're really trying to provide immersive solutions for the mining industry - for training and safety," Tristan said.

"It would be good to see our product...successfully used, and see the injury and accident rates drop as a result of them using our VR."