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Play Labs, a Summer Accelerator at MIT, Announces First Class of VR/AR/Playful Startups and Demo Day

Play Labs @ MIT, a summer accelerator hosted at the MIT Game Lab, has announced its first batch of startups that have been admitted to the program.  The first batch runs from June-August, and the Demo Day will be on August 15, 2017 at 6:00 pm EDT at MIT in classroom 10-250. The Demo Day will be open to investors, members of the MIT community, and the general public. In addition to the physical event, Play Labs Demo Day will be streamed live on the web for those not in the Boston area.

Sign up to watch Demo Day in person at MIT or online at www.playlabs.tv.

The overall focus of the accelerator is on startups that employ “playful tech” in a variety of industries.  The first batch of startups was selected with a concentration on Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), as well as online gaming and esports.

The first batch consists of startups spanning a wide breadth of categories, including:VR pets & games (2 startups)

  • VR business applications (2 startups)
  • AR/MR Applications/Tools (2 startups)
  • VR/VRWeb/360 development tech (3 startups)
  • eSports (2 startups)
  • Machine Vision and Deep Learning (2 startups)
  • Online Games (2 startups)

“We are excited at the quality and breadth of startups that we have in our first batch, being on campus at MIT gave us access to many innovative entrepreneurs and technologies, and while we had many applicants, the startups we selected in this first class represent the best applications of playful technology. I’m personally inspired to help the next group of MIT startups go on to great success.” –  Rizwan Virk, Executive Director of Play Labs @ MIT.

“The inaugural class began with teams of creative, passionate and determined people. This is history in the making,” –Tuff Yen, President of Seraph Group and Partner at Play Labs @ MIT.

The following is a list of the startups in the first batch (in alphabetical order):

  • Coresights: Coresights provides evidence-based training to improve wellness and enhance resilience. The platform combines virtual and augmented reality technologies with clinical-grade wearables to make training engaging and capture real-time data.
  • Datavized: Datavized brings another dimension to enterprise and big data with 3D visualization. Combining the immersive power of virtual reality with the seamless delivery of the mobile web, the software enables cross platform collaboration and enhanced decision making.
  • Empathy Box: The Myth Machine is a first-person mystery-adventure set in the weird, magical world of tech start-ups. It is the first project by Empathy Box, a company that aims at revolutionizing immersive storytelling.
  • Escape Labs: Escape Labs uses innovative technology to create Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality (AR/MR) experiences for escape-rooms, team-building exercises and room scale puzzles. Our goal is to transform the ordinary physical space into a high quality 4D experience using holographic content.
  • Esports One: Esports One is a revolutionary esports company, comprised of esportspedia, one of the largest esports information resources in the world, and providing an advanced computer vision and real-time data analysis platform for esports
  • Hidden Switch: Hidden Switch is developing a digital card battler, Spellsource, whose new gameplay lets you connect with the biggest stars in eSports. Based on research at the MIT Media Lab, its mission is to make everybody part of a great player’s journey.
  • Minda Labs: Minda offers virtual reality diversity training to companies who are looking for fresh, research-driven approaches to improving company culture. Our game simulations help employees build empathy and communication skills through practice and feedback from peers.
  • RidgeLine: RoVR is the first realistic VR dog simulator. Get ready to give tummy rubs to, dress up, and do so much more with your new virtual best friend!
  • SavvyStat: Deep learning and predictive tools and dashboards for managing virtual economies and virtual goods
  • Team Future: Black Hat Cooperative is an award-winning stealth game that pits you and an ally against robot agents that seek to remove you from the system. Explore complex levels filled with hidden dangers, and work together to survive.
  • Total Respawn: Total Respawn creates real-life shooter games for action sports arenas with augmented reality.  Our product lineup will feature experiences from shooting your way out of the zombie apocalypse to a military-themed laser tag on steroids.  Lots, and lots of steroids.
  • VRemedy: VRemedy Labs creates new, empowering locomotion for VR. The MIT startup is focused on mitigating nausea through movement design and training sequences that are specialized to teach motion in the most comfortable manner. Providing development tools alongside a “VR motion acclimation” app will allow developers to provide new levels of immersion for users prone to motion sickness.
  • Wonda VR: Wonda VR develops intuitive tools to turn 360° videos into engaging VR experiences. It provides a simple drag & drop interface and a one-click publishing solution that puts the power of experiential storytelling in the hands of every video creator.

About PlayLabs

Play Labs (www.playlabs.tv) is an incubator/accelerator at MIT which invests and mentors startups that are utilizing playful technology in a variety of industries.   The focus of the first batch will be Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies and applications, though the incubator will also consider startups using other playful tech, including 3d modeling, rendering, streaming, gamification, artificial intelligence. The applications of playful technology can be in any industry, including online/mobile/VR gaming, esports, entertainment, education, healthcare, finance, etc.

Play Labs is run by by Bayview Labs (www.bayviewlabs.com), and its executive director, Rizwan Virk, an MIT alumnus (MIT ‘92 BS Computer Science & Engineering), and a prolific Silicon Valley angel investor, advisor and mentor, in conjunction with the Seraph Group ( www.seraphgroup.net), a seed stage venture capital investment firm founded by Tuff Yen.

About Ludus, The MIT Center for Games, Learning, and Playful Media

Ludus, the MIT Center for Games, Learning, and Playful Media, coordinates the efforts of MIT labs and research groups exploring games and play with a community of member practitioners. Research groups include the MIT Game Lab (gamelab.mit.edu); The Education Arcade (education.mit.edu); the Imagination, Computation, and Expression Laboratory (icelab.mit.edu); the Trope Tank (tropetank.mit.edu); the Creative Communities Initiative (ccimit.mit.edu); and the Open Documentary Lab (opendoclab.mit.edu).

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