Virtual reality, in its current form, is an exclusively audio/visual medium, with a large focus on the way things look. Touch is mostly a one-way experience if it’s considered at all, using clunky controllers to “touch” virtual objects. But AxonVR wants those virtual objects to touch back.
The company, which is just coming out of a four-year stealth period, is developing technology that allows users to move through virtual environments and feel the size, shape, weight, texture, and temperature of virtual objects. Using exoskeleton-like hardware, VR software and a “smart textile,” users can experience deeper immersion in virtual environments.
Today, AxonVR announced two big hires, bringing on Microsoft veterans Mark Kroese and Joe Michaels. Kroese, a former general manager in the Office and entertainment divisions at Microsoft, will serve as the company’s president and help guide financial operations, marketing and long-range planning.
Michaels is coming on as chief revenue officer, with a focus on building partnerships. He previously developed partnerships with the entertainment, sports, and publishing industries as MSN senior director of business development.
“AxonVR has created a powerful new way to experience VR, using haptic technology that will bring the concept of immersion to new levels,” Michaels said in a press release. “I’m beyond excited to work with forward-thinking companies who can utilize Axon’s novel technology.”
Right now, AxonVR is focused on building partnerships in industries like entertainment, defense training and simulation, sports training, and healthcare, so you can’t exactly plop one of these in your living room just yet. But with VR still in its infancy, AxonVR technology may be the next step after virtual reality takes off.
AxonVR is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash. with engineering offices in San Luis Obispo, Calif. It is one of many new up-and-coming virtual reality startups in the Seattle area. Others include Envelop VR, Pluto VR, Pixvana, VRStudios, VREAL and Endeavor One.
In 2014, AxonVR raised $1.2 million from friends and family, and it is currently oversubscribed in an ongoing $3 million seed round.