New Territory design studio and arcades put Akron on the virtual-reality map

AKRON, Ohio – Akronites can explore places around the world, create items using 3D printing and game with friends through virtual-reality technology available at New Territory Arcades and design studio.

Launched by Bill and Grace Myers in 2015, New Territory has a rapidly growing following of both business and recreational customers at its main location in the Northside Marketplace and a site in Cuyahoga Falls.

On the recreation-side, New Territory arcades enable customers to experience the technology mostly for fun in three ways:

  • through games, which can accommodate three players at a time
  • by traveling anywhere Google Earth goes
  • by designing a project that can be 3D printed though a partnership with Akron Makerspace

The New Territory design studio houses developers who work to create apps — through virtual or augmented reality — to help businesses and other groups tell their stories, or sell their products.

One example is a presentation New Territory recently created for an event hosted by nonprofit Global Ties Akron. A presentation was created for Saddam Sayyaleh, a Global Ties International Research and Exchange Board Community Solutions Program fellow. The virtual reality presentation enabled Sayyaleh to show attendees his life and work in Jordan, including the refugee camp he lived in before starting his own social venture to solve social challenges there.

New Territory also is using augmented-reality technology to create an app for a door and door fixtures company, cataloging its products in an interesting way.

The difference between the two technologies is virtual reality is all encompassing, cutting you off from the outside world and transporting you into a different realm via a headset. Augmented reality is like the Pokemon Go app, in which users point a smart phone at an object, to get more information or learn its back story.

Myers launched two Meetups groups in 2015 — VR Akron and VR Cleveland — to spread the word about the technology. The groups have grown to more than 800 members, he said. The Myers take headsets to every meeting to allow members to experience virtual reality for free.

VR Akron is now the most popular tech Meetup in Akron.

“There’s no better way to define it than to put people in the headsets,” Myers said. “It helps paint the picture.”

Myers fascination with the technology started about four years ago when he tried out a friend’s virtual reality headset.

“It absolutely blew my mind,” he said. “I immediately…

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