Forget Pokemon Go. New tech incubator takes VR to the next level

Forget Pokemon Go. New tech incubator takes VR to the next level

Wikimedia Commons, Anthony Cross, VA State Parks, Flickr, Maurizio Pesce

If you’ve hung out by Lake Union, Westlake, or Green Lake at any point over the past three weeks, you’ve likely seen person after person point his or her phone toward the sidewalk or trees to try to catch that Bulbasaur, Blastoise, or Dratini. So it won’t be news to you that the digital and physical worlds are melding in Seattle.

Yes, augmented reality is taking off in the city. But it’s about so much more than Pokémon. Vikram Jandhyala, executive director of the University of Washington’s CoMotion innovation program, says Seattle is one of the world’s centers for augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) technology. Which is why CoMotion is developing a new incubator space for AR and VR startups that’s scheduled to open its doors on August 15.

Seattle’s proliferation of AR and VR has been a long time coming: Most of the leading hardware was at least partially developed here, including Microsoft’s HoloLens, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, and the HTC Vive. “The groups that create the software are here as well,” Jandhyala says. “It’s really the epicenter of VR/AR technology.”

Continue reading to see how AR/VR technology could impact storytelling and narrative sharing in disconnected urban areas.

(Originally published by Crosscut.com and Samantha Larson)