XR Beta Teams: RLab’s First Residents
Back in April, RLab invited 12 New York City-based startups to co-work from our facilities in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as part of our XR Beta residency program. As our first residents, the startups got access to coworking space, industry events, and introductions to potential clients and investors — and helped us turn a raw industrial space into a thriving hub for virtual reality, augmented reality, and spatial computing in NYC.
The first co-working residents moved out at the end of August, and a new cohort of startups will join us in mid-September. The new cohort includes 6 startups selected for the RLab Accelerator, who are coming from all over the world to take advantage of opportunities in the ecosystem RLab is building to support emerging technology and innovation. We’re excited to share more about our new startup residents in the coming weeks.
But first, here’s a closer look at a few of the startups from RLab’s XR Beta cohort — what they’re building, their next moves, and what they got out of RLab (besides the free desk space and WiFi). If you’re interested in a demo or want to learn more, let us know in the comments. You can also be sure to catch them at future programs and events at RLab!
echoAR is a content management system and delivery network for augmented reality — a cloud platform for AR apps that allows developers to build their AR app backend in minutes, and gives clients the power to easily upload, manage, and publish content to the AR app without involving development teams.
echoAR’s founder, Alon Grinshpoon, is a 2018 graduate of Columbia University’s Master’s program in Computer Science, and an alum of the Techstars and Y Combinator Startup School programs, as well as our partner program, the NYC Media Lab Combine. echoAR has thrived through its connections with New York City’s university and startup scenes, but Alon sees enormous value in programs like RLab’s that are specific to startups like his:
“There is no other organization in NYC that fosters innovation in AR, VR, and other emerging technologies quite like RLab. Thanks to RLab’s partnership, industry-specific programming, technical meetups, and corporate events, we at echoAR were able to grow our team, discover customers, and scale our business in NYC. These events solidified RLab specifically, and NYC in general, as ‘the place to be’ for anyone interest in AR/VR and spatial computing.”
Learn more about echoAR and their journey at www.echoAR.xyz.
Sensorium is an experiential studio working at the intersection of art, commerce, and technology. Co-founders Matthew Niederhauser and John Fitzgerald started the studio while at the New Museum’s New Inc incubator and have worked for leading corporate, media, and arts clients while their original work premiered as official selections at several top film festivals in 2018.
Sensorium’s immersive films and experiences became a regular feature at RLab events through frequent demos and artist talks, and Matthew said the studio benefited from this exposure:
“Taking our studio into RLab was an amazing boost for our studio! It was great to be working alongside other talented creatives again, and meeting the diverse experiential industry folks coming through the space. During meetups, all of sudden a huge number of people would show up and dive into a certain aspect of the experiential industry.”
Check out original AR and VR projects by Sensorium at www.sensorium.works/.
Unseen Media creates AR-enabled tabletop games that provide players with immersive narrative games that merge the worlds of the physical and digital. The company plans to start crowdfunding later this year to prepare to get their first mystery adventure game into the hands of players.
An alum of the NYC Media Combine program, Unseen Media was founded by 2018 graduates of NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Master’s program in Integrated Digital Media. One of the cofounders, Brian Hui, is also an organizer of the local Brooklyn Product Design meetup, and has helped bring a larger group of designers and developers into the XR community. Brian said his affiliation with RLab helped him expand his community as well:
“The resources and staff at RLab have been invaluable to us, from being invited to showcase and demo at RLab events, to getting help finding professional services firms. RLab also helped send us to AWE in Santa Clara. With RLab’s support, we could demo and exhibit our AR-enabled mystery adventure to a bigger audience outside of NYC.
Get updates on Unseen Media’s games at www.unseenmedia.io.
The Lightframe Co is a digital product studio that helps clients leverage volumetric capture for business transformation to make the most of the spatial computing revolution that is underway. With full-service capability in strategic consulting, product & creative design, content creation and implementation, Lightframe can be a valuable partner for companies looking to tap into emerging technology innovation and achieve impressive business results.
Microsoft selected Lightframe to host and to operate their pop-up, state-of-the-art volumetric capture stage in NYC through September. The leading-edge video capture stage enables best-in-class holographic video quality and processing while producing compact files that can be streamed and played on any device. Lightframe officially launched in July after setting up in stealth mode at RLab.
Learn more about Lightframe’s volumetriccapabilities at www.thelightframe.co.
Garou is a geographic-based VR marketplace, and a community where users can share their VR content, interact with other people, transact, learn, engage with the brands they love, discover the brands they will come to love. Currently, in Garou’s VR experience you can explore New York City — going into key landmarks, checking out real estate, and even taking a heli tour high above the buildings. Garou works with brands to create experiences that bring their visions to room-scale virtual reality.
Find out how to work with Garou at www.garou.io
Luxury Escapism is the team behind the Oddly Satisfying Spa, a first-of-its-kind relaxation space using immersive art and technology to deliver multi-sensory wellness experiences. Their premiere location in Dumbo will open this fall features virtual reality meditations, ASMR sound baths, tactile treatments, nootropic elixirs, and many other soothing simulations.
The Spa will invite friends of RLab to visit The Spa during their initial soft launch beginning late September (make sure you sign up for our newsletter for updates). The Spa will be open to the general public shortly thereafter!
Learn more about the Oddly Satisfying Spa coming to Dumbo at luxuryescapism.com.
Speak is Yourself is an immersive language acquisition tool that uses VR to enable students to practice speaking in a fun interactive way. Combining 360 degree video, voice recognition, audio and text, SIY aims to improve outcomes for English language learners. They are preparing their Spoken English product for pilot programs in schools in Israel this Fall.
Try an SIY web demo at www.siyvr.com.
Optoon created ToonPack during their residency at RLab — an app that allows users to replace their faces with AR cartoon avatars and video chat live with their friends. ToonPack is available for partnership, licensing and development deals.
Check out ToonPack at www.toonpack.com.
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