Software entrepreneur

    James Bonner

    By Fran Molloy

    James is winning awards and making a positive impact through the work he does at his tech company, Opaque Multimedia. And it all stems from gaming.

    “Our company takes video game technology and applies it in other domains, like health and education,” says James.

    Nearly three years ago, he and his three business partners – Liam McGuire, Chris Mackenzie and Norman Wang – set up Opaque Multimedia. They were studying at Swinburne University, sharing classes in game design and multimedia.

    James had been doing paid computing projects on the side since high school – like building websites and helping academics develop programs to test their research. Now he’s building amazing virtual reality tools, including a simulated walk-through of the International Space Station and programs to help people with dementia.

    Opaque Multimedia has created the Virtual Dementia Experience – a scary, distorted-reality simulation that gives dementia carers a taste of what it’s like to live with the disease. For dementia patients, meanwhile, they’ve built a fun and soothing immersive virtual environment called The Forest Project.

    These projects started when James and his partners were helping a researcher who wanted to explore brain activity during MRI scans, which are used to image the body’s soft tissues. “We helped build a virtual maze that was constantly changing, so people could have their navigational skills tested during an MRI.”

    “The gaming industry is incredibly cut-throat and making huge leaps in hardware and software,” says James. “We’re taking some of these advances and using them in other fields apart from entertainment to improve people’s lives.”

    Fran Molloy

    Author: Fran Molloy

    FRAN MOLLOY is a freelance journalist and university lecturer whose career has spanned newspapers, radio and online publications. She writes about business, careers, research, science and environment.