MICHAEL Carr and Matt Goddard understand well the battle of taking their young kids out to dinner.
"When I was a kid, if mum and dad went out we slept under the table, but now if you do that someone might say you're a useless parent, there's pressure to be a 'good' parent'," Mr Goddard says.
"Mick and I both have three kids, we know we only go out for dinner where the kids are happy because you don't want to annoy other patrons, you don't want them running around screaming."
These experiences drove Mr Carr and Mr Goddard, respectively founder-CEO and Chief Operating Officer of Kurri tech startup The Village Co, to create Grub Lab.
The app uses augmented reality for kids dining in restaurants, transforming their pencil colouring on sheets into 3D gaming experiences.
"It takes kids' colouring in and puts it on steroids," says Mr Goddard. "So kids colour in in the old-fashioned way then scan it with our app and it brings the colouring in to life in 3D and ... launches other activities as well."
The Village Co is throwing its innovation hat into the ring with Grub Lab in the hope of nabbing up to $250,000 in the NSW government's latest Innovation District Challenge. Small and medium sized businesses in the Hunter and Central Coast are urged to enter the Challenge, which asks companies to develop solutions that address the economic impact of COVID-19.
March 4 is the deadline for applications in the Challenge, a partnership between government and research bodies designed to accelerate the commercialisation of research-led solutions. The three priority categories are in the most impacted business sectors (including the arts, entertainment and recreation); in ongoing supply chain weaknesses; and strengthening communities in the prevention of, or management and recovery from, outbreaks.
Siobhan Curran, the University's manager of the Integrated Innovation Network (I2N), said the Challenge encouraged the development of solutions made in NSW that could be applied globally, generating jobs and growth locally.
Details at newcastle.edu.au/idc
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