David Shering: Handbuilt Creative
David and his team are creating reality from dreams and changing the way we interact with technology
Imagine this for a moment. Your computer screen is your glasses. Your keyboard is your voice command. Your mouse is your hand gestures. Your laptop is invisible. Most believe this tech chatter is reserved for the likes of Silicon Valley, but it’s happening right now in a rural Tasmanian cottage.
Handbuilt Creative is at the forefront of a swift-moving Augmented Reality (AR) world. What exactly is AR? Essentially, it’s an enhanced version of reality using an overlay of digital technology within the users environment in real time. It’s an opportunity to enter a portal and find yourself in icy Antarctica, for example. Handbuilt Creative Founder, David Shering has had global leaders in technology knocking on his cottage door amazed by what he and his team are achieving from their humble quarters in Richmond, southern Tasmania.
“The type of outcomes we’re attaining are being noticed by the top companies,” explains David. “We feel privileged to be part of activating this sector and believe we’re only limited by our imagination.”
David was born and raised in Scotland by an adventurous family. By age 19, he was a Director of Europe’s biggest bike store, while also completing his Zoology degree and competing at an elite level in mountain biking. It is here he learnt the foundations of business and tools that later became handy in managing Handbuilt Creative.
“After meeting my wife, we continued the adventurous lifestyle,” smiles David. “We travelled on a mountain bike for a year and a half, spending time climbing and exploring Scotland and Canada. Wild camping has always been my method of recharging – resulting in four years of my life being spent under canvas, including time in Chile and Peru. Even our little girl spent the first six months of her life in a tent, where we’d swim in the ocean every day.”
“But, this couldn’t go on forever. We reached a point where we were tossing up whether to settle in Tasmania or travel the world by boat. As it turned out, Tasmania won.”
When their second child was just four weeks old, David was made redundant, so he ventured out on his own. He opened Handbuilt Creative for business in 2009, operating from his front bedroom.
“We’ve come far from then and it’s a really exciting time to be in Tasmania doing this work. We’re helping to lead the way in next generation technology. Alongside the likes of Savage [Interactive] in North Hobart, awarded world’s best app builder, if you want to work in top design-focused tech – it’s right here in Tasmania. “My team is international, they’ve come from afar to work in our Tasmanian studio.”
Handbuilt Creative’s most recent partnership was with the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) for their Dinosaur rEvolution: Secrets of Survival exhibition, where the company brought a famous dinosaur back to life in 3D form. The team have also recreated the underwater world of abalone divers, thrilled airport guests with wombats on the baggage carousel and are currently working on a number of other exciting projects.
“AR is not about games like Pokémon! It’s a fundamental way of rethinking the way we interact with technology, so that in the future we won’t have our heads down looking at screens. Instead, we will see the real world in an incredibly new way.”
“For example, if you’re a trail runner driving past a new location, we can use AR to show a 3D map detailing the trails to explore, real time data that someone just completed a trail in 38 minutes, and oh by the way, here’s some video footage of the routes.”
“AR will generate completely new industries. If we think back to the introduction of the web in the ’90s and how hundreds of thousands of jobs came out of this, the same is occurring now. We’ll look back on traditional screens and see them as so archaic. Software will be served up in 3D form guided by technology that can track minute changes in your veins to establish hand commands. In the disability sector there’s work around driving cars through patterns of thought. We’re on the verge of very mind-blowing territory.”
For someone who thought twice about venturing out on his own, David has achieved a lot from his veranda-wrapped studio and he loves it so much here, even his Scottish parents have emigrated to Tasmania. When he’s not devising new ways to see the world through the lens of AR, he’s raising the sails of his Tasmanian wooden boat and nurturing a new generation of adventurers.
Are you interested in making a move? Make it Tasmania.
For information on starting a business in Tasmania look through our stories or visit Business Tasmania.