It started with a walk around a convention floor in 2004. The gathering for graphic designers and technologists was a stop in a journey on a search to find ways to mesh technology with athletics. This booth had something called mixed reality.
The booth director placed what looked like a leftover experiment from Dr. Emmett Brown’s lab. The test he couldn’t convince Marty McFly to participate in. It felt like 10 pounds of football helmet. Two minutes later he was fighting an advancing force shooting at him across the convention floor.
Sometimes it hits you, that thing, right between the eyes. It wakes you up and then torments you until you do something about it.
He spent the next few years campus hopping, trying to find the match. Ann Arbor, MI provided some hope, but the CAVE was too big and too expensive. Central Florida added fuel, but the funding source didn’t trust the tech was ready.
So he returned to a life of consulting, chatting up the technology to anyone and everyone he could find. An obsessed convert without a way to satiate his desire.
About the time Kickstrater campaigns turned into a viable market for virtual reality and marketers continued to toy with how augmented reality could suit their purposes, he brought in a friend to work on an idea. Transmedia content creation with a twist, immersive tech could be part of the multimedia mix. They would create content and bring in apprentices and interns from groups underrepresented in technology (gender, race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status) to teach them about the technology and its use in content.
The more they researched, the more technology and education came to the forefront. The model now flipped with charter schools and school districts dominating their Rolodex (old school smartphone address book). Until, it didn’t.
Same old issue. A plan to bring diverse groups to the tech table? check. Smart collective of creative hard working professionals and university folks? check. Deep pockets? Ah… no.
Which leads us to now. Do you go the traditional route of the tech world or do you develop a fund that desires to create the next thing from hardware to software to content, while bringing diverse groups to the tech table? Our answer was… Create a fund. The Impact Immersive Fund.