Startup Spotlight: Wave’s virtual reality experiences
Los Angeles-based entertainment technology startup Wave creates interactive virtual experiences.
With a particular focus on virtual concerts, the company allows fans to interact with digital avatars of performers.
In a press release, Wave co-founder and CEO Adam Arrig said: “The fan engagement is what makes the Wave experience so exciting,” Arrigo said. “Fans become active participants in the concert experience, chatting directly with the artist and each other, cheering and sharing reactions. This two-way dialogue and intimate interaction is what Wave is all about.”
Spurred on by the unprecedented disruption to live events caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the company has attracted talent including the likes of John Legend, Galantis and Tinashe as part of its One Wave series of concerts.
The company has raised a total $42.5mn since its foundation in 2016, with its latest Series B round announced earlier this month. That saw the company receive $30mn from lead investor Maveron, alongside others including Upfront Ventures, The Venture Reality Fund, Superfly and Raised in Space Enterprises.
In a blog post, David Wu, Partner at lead investor Maveron, said: “Wave is a technology platform that enables highly produced, virtual concerts that deliver the energy and shared experience of a live music festival. We are incredibly excited to partner with Adam Arrigo and his talented team at Wave as they redefine the experience of a live concert in a digital world, and as they build the leading consumer brand at the intersection of live music and gaming.”
The company’s approach is of a kind with that bleeding edge of the culture: Fortnite. The game has been operating live virtual experiences for the past year or so, and attracting huge numbers in the process, as with the 10 million people who watched a Marshmello concert in the game. More recently, a live event heralding the launch of the game’s season 3 caused consternation as the event quickly reached capacity.
Startup Extend Robotics launches VR-controlled robot arm
The company, which produces robotic hardware for industries including healthcare, services, utilities and electronics, says the Robot Toolkit can be controlled in real-time via virtual reality, allowing for a high level of dexterity and reachability.
Extend Robotics’ partners include Nvidia, BT, Queen Mary University London, University Hospital Birmingham, Britbots and Innovate UK, with the company hoping to make dextrous teleoperated robotics more accessible by lowering prices of both hardware and control systems.
In a press release, Dr. Chang Liu, the company’s founder and CEO, said: “At Extend Robotics, our vision is to extend human capability beyond physical presence. Our mission is to democratise dexterous teleoperation at scale over the next three years, designing cost-effective robotic arms capable of remote operation from anywhere in the world, using cloud-based teleoperation software.
“Our latest cybernetic bartender robot demo is a great example of an ‘out of the box’ teleoperated robot solution for the service and catering industry. We also plan to develop VR-controlled teleoperated robots featuring highly accurate, smooth and consistent, human-like movements to improve safety conditions and boost efficiencies across a number of other sectors: from agriculture and healthcare through to the utilities and energy industry.”
The company is developing the technology for wider commercial use, with its demonstration highlighting the applicability of the technology to the hospitality industry.
“Right now, as we approach the end of the COVID-19 crisis, we expect to see remote working as ‘the new norm’ across many industries, for numerous health, safety and environmental reasons,” said Liu. “2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for humanity, yet our hope at Extend Robotics is that the recent acceleration in R&D of remote teleoperated working robots will soon result in a wide range of safe, secure and affordable dexterity robot solutions across a number of industries worldwide.”
(Image: Extend Robotics)