Baltimore innovation and digital agency Mindgrub Technologies is embracing virtual reality technology and bringing it to Charm City.
The company developed an immersive VR bike that allows people to pedal through a virtual city and was such a real experience that Mindgrub stationed spotters to make sure people didn’t tip over if they “fell” off the bike. The technology uses the Oculus Rift, one of several virtual reality systems launching now and opening up new opportunities for innovation.
The bike was just the start of Mindgrub’s foray into virtual reality – the agency has developed a holodeck room to mimic the virtual reality experiences of the fictional “Star Trek” holodeck room as well as a VR ping pong table. So far, the bike has been featured at an event to benefit the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, Light City Baltimore’s Tech Playground and at the Brown Advisory’s Navigating Our World Conference in Washington D.C. It is now stationed as part of the holodeck.
While these side projects have allowed the company to test out innovations, Mindgrub CEO Todd Marks sees a strong future for commercialization of these types of technology – whether it is the state-of-the-art virtual reality crash cart training experience for Mercy Medical Center or helping clients design huge commercial physical spaces that incorporate digital experiences holistically.
Mindgrub Labs, a research and development team in the agency, is also working with other VR systems like Vive, Samsung Galaxy Gear and Google Cardboard, and is researching ways to incorporate it into learning content and other applications.
‘The digital world has been largely detached from the physical world, only now are those starting to come together,” Marks said.