MIT Game Lab’s a summer accelerator, Play Labs @ MIT, has announced the first batch of startups admitted to the program. Running through August, The overall focus of the accelerator is on startups that employ “playful tech” in a variety of industries, including virtual reality and augmented reality, as well as representatives from online gaming and eSports.

The startups will receive an initial investment of $20,000 (in exchange in for 6% common equity), hands-on mentoring, a curriculum of speakers and advisors designed to help them make their startups successful, introductions to industry experts, and the ability to get a follow-on investment after graduating from the incubator as part of their seed round (up to an additional $80,000).

“We are excited at the quality and breadth of startups that we have in our first batch,” said Rizwan Virk, Executive Director of Play Labs @ MIT. “Being on campus at MIT gave us access to many innovative entrepreneurs and technologies, and while we had many applicants, the startups we selected in this first class represent the best applications of playful technology. I’m personally inspired to help the next group of MIT startups go on to great success.”

The program will run through August. The Demo Day to showcase their participants’ efforts will be on August 15, 2017 at 6:00 pm EDT at MIT in classroom 10-250. The event is open to investors, members of the MIT community, and the general public. In addition to the physical event, Demo Day will be streamed live for those not in the Boston area.

In alphabetical order, the startups are:

  • Coresights, which provides evidence-based training to improve wellness and enhance resilience. The platform combines virtual and augmented reality technologies with clinical-grade wearables to make training engaging and capture real-time data.
  • Datavized brings another dimension to enterprise and big data with 3D visualization. Combining the immersive power of virtual reality with the seamless delivery of the mobile web, the software enables cross platform collaboration and enhanced decision making.
  • Empathy Box, which is working on The Myth Machine, a first-person mystery-adventure set in the weird, magical world of tech start-ups. It is the startup’s first attempt at “revolutionizing immersive storytelling.”
  • Escape Labs creates Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality experiences for escape-rooms, team-building exercises and room scale puzzles. Their goal is to transform the ordinary physical space into a high quality 4D experience using holographic content.
  • Esports One is an eSports company comprised of esportspedia, one of the largest eSports information resources in the world, and providing an advanced computer vision and real-time data analysis platform for eSports
  • Hidden Switch is developing a digital card battler, Spellsource, whose gameplay is meant to connect players with the biggest stars in eSports. Based on research at the MIT Media Lab, its mission is to make everybody part of a great player’s journey.
  • Minda Labs offers virtual reality diversity training to companies who are looking for fresh, research-driven approaches to improving company culture. Their game simulations help employees build empathy and communication skills through practice and feedback from peers
  • RidgeLine is developing RoVR, the first realistic VR dog simulator.
  • SavvyStat is working on developing deep learning and predictive tools and dashboards for managing virtual economies and virtual goods
  • Team Future has Black Hat Cooperative, an award-winning stealth game that pits players and an ally against robot agents that seek to remove them from the system. Players explore complex levels filled with hidden dangers and work together to survive.
  • Total Respawn creates real-life shooter games for action sports arenas with augmented reality. Their product lineup will feature experiences from shooting a way out of the zombie apocalypse to a military-themed laser tag on steroids.
  • VRemedy Labs creates new locomotion for VR. The MIT startup is focused on mitigating nausea through movement design and training sequences that are specialized to teach motion in the most comfortable manner. Providing development tools alongside a “VR motion acclimation” app will allow developers to provide new levels of immersion for users prone to motion sickness.
  • Wonda VR develops intuitive tools to turn 360° videos into engaging VR experiences. It provides a simple drag & drop interface and a one-click publishing solution that puts the power of experiential storytelling in the hands of every video creator.