spinoff companies - The Virtual Reality Applications Center (originally known as the Iowa Center for Emerging Manufacturing Technology) has successfully spawned a number of entrepreneurial activities that have had a significant impact on Iowa's economy. What follows is a brief history of several of these successful startups that had their roots in the Center.
| || Amoniq |
Software development company founded in 2010 by VRAC PhD students Brandon Newndorp and Christian Noon. They specialize in software design and development for virtual reality and mobile devices, including Apple iPad applications. More information can be found on their website at www.amoniq.com.
BitMethod was started by VRAC alum Dan Shipton. Based out of Des Moines, the company builds web-driven mobile and desktop products and services for businesses. More information on BitMethod can be found at bitmethod.com.
| || BodyViz |
BodyViz was founded by VRAC faculty members Jim Oliver and Eliot Winer. Located at the Iowa State University Research Park, BodyViz is software with extensive visualization features that enable users to quickly and effectively view and interact with their patient's data in a never-before-seen 3D manner that is changing the way medical professionals view their world. More information on BodyViz can be found at www.bodyviz.com.
|Demonstratives Inc. |
Demonstratives Inc. DI, spun out from EAI as an independent company in 2000. It remains headquartered in Ames and is the nation's foremost producer of computer generated animation in support of high stakes litigation. More information on DI can be found at www.demonstratives.com.
History - Several of the founding members of the Center were also founding members of Engineering Animation Incorporated (EAI). Center Director Jim Bernard, Mechanical Engineering Professor Marty Vanderploeg, and Ph.D. students Jay Shannan and Jeff Trom founded EAI in 1990. The company's initial focus was the creation of physically accurate animations of complex engineering systems for use as demonstrative evidence in the courtroom.
EAI grew steadily in the early 1990's, and went public in February of 1996 (NASDAQ: EAII). From its roots in litigation services, EAI went on to produce a wide variety of visualization related products, from award winning animations such as National Geographic's "Asteroid: Deadly Impact", to best selling video games for publishers such as Mattel and Disney Interactive. EAI also built a successful software product business, supplying digital product visualization tools to Fortune 100 manufacturers such as Deere and Company, General Motors, Lockheed Martin and Ford Motor Company. Headquartered in Ames Iowa, EAI grew to employ over 1000 people, worldwide.
In 2000, EAI was acquired by UGS Solutions, a subsidiary of Electronic Data Systems (EDS).
Today - The former EAI headquarters in Ames remains a vital part of the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Solutions division of EDS, one of the two largest CAD/CAM solution providers in the world. More information in EDS/PLM can be found at http://www.ugs.com/.
|iMed Studios |
Another successful EAI spinoff company is iMed Studios, headquartered in the ISU Research Park in Ames. A division of the Klemtner Group in the Saatchi & Saatchi family, iMed Studios develops scientifically accurate, visually impactful, leading edge multimedia for clients in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. More information on iMed Studios can be found at www.imedstudios.com.
|Intuition Games |
Intuition Games is an Iowa-based independent game collective. The company was founded by VRAC members Greg Wohlwend, Mike Boxleiter, Josh Larson, and Ted Martens. More information on Intuition Games can be found at http://www.intuitiongames.com.
| ||Infiscape |
Infiscape helps people fully utilize the capabilities of immersive visualization and high-end 3D graphics through consulting, software development, training, and support services. The Infiscape team has extensive experience in immersive, interactive visualization, networked virtual environments, advanced rendering techniques, physical simulation, content creation, and art. Infiscape provides its customers with the practical engineering experience and creative problem solving that they need to meet their goals. More information can be found at www.infiscape.com.
| ||Inv3rsion |
Inv3rsion develops and supports visualization software for existing immersive 3D environments. Their creation of custom desktop and virtual reality applications helps scientists and engineers more easily visualize data. Founded by Todd Furlong, a 1998 mechanical engineering graduate and VRAC veteran, Inv3rsion is headquartered in Goffstown, New Hampshire. The company maintains close ties to Iowa State University.
| || Mechdyne Corporation |
History - href="http://www.mechdyne.com">
Chris Clover, Jim Gruenning and Kurt Hoffmeister were ISU graduate students in Mechanical Engineering in the mid-1990's. In the course of their graduate education they were involved in the development of next generation virtual environments. In 1996, they founded Mechdyne Incorporated, based in Marshalltown, Iowa.
Mechdyne offers world-leading expertise and products in all aspects of 3D, audio-visual and immersive virtual reality systems. The company provides design consultation, standard and custom visual displays, collaboration technologies, integration services, software products and services backed by exceptional global technical support. Still headquartered in Marshalltown, IA, Mechdyne has installed over 800 solutions around the world. The company employs more than 100 people worldwide, including 60 people in Iowa. More information can be found at www.mechdyne.com.
The latest EAI/EDS spinoff company is Proplanner, also headquartered in the ISU Research Park in Ames. Proplanner develops web-based process planning software solutions for small and medium sized manufacturers that automate, streamline and integrate engineering activities. More information on Proplanner can be found at www.proplanner.net.