It’s been quite some time since I’ve been able to find time to write for my blog. Luckily there is a very good reason for this. I have been extremely busy getting ready for my upcoming trip to Facebook Headquarters!! Even as I sit here and type that I’m still in shock that I will be in California next week. So crazy!!
So why am I going to Facebook Headquarters?? I have been invited to attend a one-day virtual reality development boot camp, Oculus Launch Pad!
How did I get accepted into Oculus Launch Pad? A little over a month ago someone from Oculus posted in the Women in VR group that the application for Oculus Launch Pad was only open for a few more days and encouraged us to apply. My husband and I have been busy working on our virtual reality application, Smoky Mountain VR. I decided the story and the why behind Smoky Mountain VR had a good chance of getting me into Oculus Launch Pad so I took a chance and applied. A few weeks later I found out I was accepted! To say I was (and still am) excited is an understatement. When I opened the email and realized what it meant I was so happy I was in tears.
What is Smoky Mountain VR? Smoky Mountain VR is a virtual reality application that will allow you to visit the Smoky Mountains from anywhere, anytime in virtual reality. Why is this such a big deal? The reality is not everyone can visit the Smoky Mountains. Not everyone can hike to the tallest peaks of the mountains to see the amazing views. This application will allow people with disabilities to have the closest experience to the real thing in virtual reality.
My business, Agilibility is partnering with a local non-profit, East Tennessee Technology Access Center. ETTAC’s mission is “To connect people with disabilities in East Tennessee to the adaptive technology tools and services they need to live with maximum independence and dignity.” Agilibility will be using the proceeds from Smoky Mountain VR to create a virtual reality lab for ETTAC and allow their clients to experience Smoky Mountain VR.
So what will going to Oculus Launch Pad do for Smoky Mountain VR and Agilibility? “Launch Pad is a program designed to support promising VR content creators so they can take their unique ideas and bring them to market. Starting with a one-day boot camp and potentially leading to a fully-realized VR app.” I won’t necessarily be leaving Facebook ready to publish Smoky Mountain VR, but Launch Pad will certainly give me the tools I need to accelerate this process. Smoky Mountain VR will also have the opportunity to get a scholarship for $5,000 to $50,000!!
Agilibility is the only virtual reality development business in East Tennessee. While this is a huge advantage for myself and my business, being alone in my area also presents challenges such as not have local developer mentors to turn to for help. I will be leaving Facebook with a mentor that I can reach out to and hopefully set myself up to be a local mentor.
Virtual reality is here and rapidly growing! I want to make sure that I am creating virtual reality experiences that give back to my community. It is also a goal of Agilibility to make East Tennessee a virtual reality hub. Who says high-tech industries have to live on the west coast?! So I’m packing my bags and going to Cali to bring some of that west coast fire back to East Tennessee!!