Any good XR startup needs someone to invest in their world-changing idea before they can start changing the world. The GFR Fund is one such investor group, and this one in particular has cultivated an impressive portfolio of XR up-and-comers. Managing partner Teppei Tsutsui drops by to share some of his investing strategies.

Alan: Welcome to The XR for Business podcast with your host Alan Smithson. Today’s guest is Teppei Tsutsui. For the past decade, Teppei has been the managing partner of the GFR Fund, and he’s led several key investments in acquisitions in Tokyo, including GREE’s acquisitions of open feet and Funzio. Teppei is currently leading the GFR Fund in San Francisco. You can learn more about the GFR Fund by visiting gfrfund.com.

Teppei, welcome to the show, my friend.

Teppei: Oh yeah. Thank you for having me here.

Alan: It’s my absolute pleasure. You guys were one of the very first companies to start investing in the virtual and augmented and mixed reality space. You come from a gaming background. Maybe just give us a little overview of the GFR Fund, and how this came to be that you’re investing in some of the name brands in virtual reality.

Teppei: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. So the GFR Fund is a seed stage fund that’s investing technology companies, disrupting the digital media and entertainment space, including VR and AR. We have about 40 million under management and we invest in primarily in North America, but also in Asia and Europe, too. And we are backed by ALEC Japanese… more like a strategic investor from Japan and Asia, including GREE, which is a publicly-traded company, a mobile gaming company out of Tokyo, and they also help us investing in companies and altogether. Before launching this fund back in 2016, I was working for a company called GREE. — that’s the same company that I was kind of explaining — and I was the head of the corporate development team based in Tokyo, and also here in San Francisco, so that I was kind of working together with them, just looking for lot of the venture companies in the gaming — and VR and AR — space, as well. So that’s how we got started, this GFR Fund, and that’s the relationship.

Alan: GREE is a fairly large company, is it not?

Teppei: It is. So they have about 1.5 billion market cap and they’ve got about a thousand employees across the globe and they’ve got 2,000 billion US dollar revenues. So it’s I feel like a decent company, decent size company.

Alan: That’s awesome. I would assume because — it’s social media and gaming — you would be a direct competitor or something like Tencent. Would that be the case?

Teppei: Yeah. In a way. But the GREE’s more built upon the mobile games, whereas the Tencent sell– they do both PC games and some sort of consoles, too.

Alan: Got it. I’m looking at your portfolio here under the GFR Fund. You’ve got VRChat, Spaces, the WaveVR, Littlstar, InsiteVR, Streem, Torch. Let’s go through these — if you don’t mind — and kind of talk about each one one at a time, and why you guys chose to invest it. But first I want to know: you talked about your fund being $40-million, when did that fund start?

Teppei: The first fund was launched in April 2016, so it’s almost like a four, three and a half years ago. And then we also launched a second fund, beginning of this year.

Alan: Great. And then, so you’ve got– that’s $40-million total under management?

Teppei: Yes. Yeah. Well, $20-million, the first one is still $20-million. And the second fund is also another $20-million.

Alan: So you’ve got 40 million to play with. You’ve made some early-stage bets, what are the check sizes that you invest in?

Teppei: Yeah, we typically do somewhere between $100k and a half million. But overseas, the body’s about $300k-100k. And we also keep one-third of the fund for the full loan, so that we can maybe continue to support the companies that we invested, up onto a series B or series C, so depending on the situation in the company.

Alan: I mean, something like VRChat, for example, I know– I believe they just raised another round, was it?

Teppei: Yeah, there is a $10-million series C lead by HTC, and also another fund called The Makers.

Alan: Now did you guys participate in that round as well?

Teppei: Yes we did. Yeah.

Alan: Okay. I’ll call out the companies in your portfolio, and maybe talk to us about why you invested in them, why they’re a good company and go from there. Let’s start with VRChat, because it’s pretty amazing.

Teppei: Yeah. The VRChat, we are really excited about what they are doing in a team. I think we first met with them late 2015, when they’re still at the Rosenberg Ventures — a surrender program — and they were quite small back then, it’s only like a thousand users, but what was really fascinating about them was they have real active users. A small number, I don’t remember– maybe like a 100 people, a 120 people, but they’re spending like five or six hours per day in the VR. So we are quite excited about those. They have a passion and also the activeness of those plastic users to what they are. The concept of VR. So we see in looking back on the– there’s a shift from a PC to the mobile. We saw that there will be a huge shift from PC/mobile to a new platform like virtual reality. So we saw that the social and communication is a key concept, a key sector. That’s– it’s going to be a new format for communication, with new format of the social VR. And VRChat is really the one that we found out. So I think we are the first institutional VC invested in them and since then we’ve been really loved just working with the team and also how they run the user base.

Alan: The first time I was in VRChat I was on a show– I can’t remember what the show was called, it was– Oh! “Gunther’s Universe!” And what it was, this guy had made– and the great thing about VR chat is you can make your own environments, you can make a room however you want, you can have gravity, you can have no gravity, there’s all sorts of features about this. So we were in this like stadium-sized thing, with people everywhere. It was kind of like Ready Player One, where you’re talking to somebody who is a human avatar and then you turn around and somebody is a giant robot. It was really cool, because no matter what the shape that they took you could have a conversation with somebody, and it was really cool because as I went around the room there was people from all over the world in that room and they were super passionate, super excited. Just to your point where very very active users. And not only active in the fact that they’re going there and talking to people, but building. And I think that is really cool, that’s one thing about VRChat I loved. And we look at something like Altspace — which is a direct competitor to VRChat — and it doesn’t seem like it’s moved or changed since it was released in 2014, 2015. Nothing really been improved in my opinion. If anything, it’s gotten worse, because there’s more people in now and it’s lagging. What are these guys doing to keep their tech stack ahead of the curve when it comes to adoption, as more and more people come onto the platform? Obviously they need to scale their bandwidth. What are they doing there?

Teppei: Yes, they have a pretty sharp user growth for the last maybe 12 months, so they’ve been spending a lot of time just keeping up the servers, how the community grows and there’s no toxic behavior in the community too. So the last 12 months they spend so much time in just that, moderating the community and also making sure they can have fun. Specifically, the new users, once they are in, they have a comfortable experience just interacting with other people. I guess the main point for them to be successful is just to listen to users. So they have some sort of community advisory group and they actively talking to the actual users, what they feel like, what they want in the community, and they try to reflect– they take those feedback really seriously and implement as soon as they can. For the technical side, just make sure that they can support like a 100,000 people at the same time. And also the other parties, just to make sure that the communities doesn’t pull apart. Just what other big Sure Shot user. We did have like a really good time in there.

Alan: Imagine that: a company that listens to its customers and community. Seems so basic, but so powerful. [laughs]

Teppei: Yeah. It’s– I think sometimes it’s quite hard, because some people say they want to dance and some people say they don’t want to dance. So you just have to make sure that what’s the best for the community. So sometimes they have to make some judgment, as well. Some people may not be happy, but in the overall the community can just be in a good shape and can grow.

Alan: Let’s move to Spaces, which — again — in VR, but now this is more location-based entertainment and I know there’s, what, three locations now?

Teppei: They have about six locations now.

Alan: Amazing. So they’ve six locations. So I had the opportunity to meet with Shiraz [Akmal]. We were both accepted to the Museum of the Future Accelerator in Dubai.

Teppei: Oh, really?

Alan: We spent a week in Dubai together. So I got to meet them there. But really amazing stuff. One of their title pieces, or one of their licensed IP titles is Terminator. So tell us about those guys, and why you think they were a great investment?

Teppei: Right. Kind of the same story, so I met Shiraz and Brad [Herman] — CTO and CEO of the company — maybe late 20,16 when they are still working for DreamWorks. So they’re like the– they are the lead team members of the [garbled] for the any XR type of the experiences, and they are just thinking to spinoff the team out of the parent company. So we talked a few times, they showed us what they are working on, and it’s like– it’s just a great team and combination: Shiraz is more like a business guy and Brad is like a really technical person. So we just loved what they’re working on, and also the team itself. They were originally trying to create some the content platform for VR. So they’re like really great I like creating content too. So when they’re talking to Chinese company Shin, which is one of the largest creator of a theme park in China. So they– sunshine actually invested in them, and also they had a big agreement for the contents of distribution in China. So it seems then they’re more focused on the content, to creating content for a theme park, like a location-based VR stuff. Right now they have about five or six locations, three in US and one in Japan line to buy. So that’s– they have Terminator IPs and it’s been great. It’s been really great working with them, as well.

Alan: VR Park is this crazy– it’s like a video arcade that got carried away. When you walk through the mall, all of a sudden the whole arcade facade, the front of the building is like wrapped around over top of you, and buildings are kind of coming down. It’s almost like, what’s that movie– Inception, where buildings are coming from the ceiling down on you, and it just an incredible facade. And then when you walk in the room– they’ve taken location-based entertainment to the next level. And one of the things that I think is really special about what they do, and is starting to trickle down with things like Spaces and these companies is that the experience before you get in the VR headset is as important as the experience while you’re in it.

Teppei: Yeah.

Alan: It’s really, really important to get you excited about it, builds the immersion before you even put the headset on. It’s very exciting. So where do you see the future of that going.

Teppei: Location-based VR is like one of the categories that’s quite successful in monetization and also user attraction. And I think the– not only Spaces but other companies that got deployed, like Sandbox VR. So all companies have a slightly different approach. The Void is more like creating bigger attractions, like partnering with Disney. And Sandbox is creating like a snackable, easier to use kind of experience in the shopping center. So it’s just a little bit different, but I think for the location-based VR is like that’s what the people want, they just to go there to try something new. So it’s been– I think it’s been a great future for the VR industry as a whole.

Alan: I think it’s one of those things that people originally said “well why would I go to a location when I can just buy a VR headset at home?”. But what people don’t understand is that the experiences that companies like Spaces and The Void are doing are really bringing a different added layer of complexity, so they’re able to put you inside of a space where you can walk around you can touch things you can interact with things. And it really cannot be replicated in a vibe or an Oculus Rift or avoid I’m sure spaces is going to do this as well but using haptics and vibration plates and sent machines and spatial audio. All of these things together create an immersive experience that you cannot get at home and he won’t be able to get it home ever because as the home technology gets better and better of course the location-based entertainment is going to get better and better as well.

Teppei: Yeah.

Alan: Speaking of which, let’s go in and talk about Littlstar. I know the guys at Littlstar. I’ve known them for quite a while and they’re more of a distribution platform for VR videos and content. So talk to us about them.

Teppei: Sure yeah. So yeah like you said, Littlstar’s the content distribution platform. Not only for VR, like 360 video, but also AR, and also other contents too. So they have a platform on their own app and Sony PlayStation’s, as well. And they’re distributing lots and lots of content to the end-users, to consumers. And recently they also deal off the interesting blockchain technology that’s called Ara, and they’re also trying to replace old existing content distribution platform with a unique to build their own technology built by like click the link to blockchain or so that they can do more decentralize the content management, after all. They’re out of New York, but the founding team recently moved to LA, to just get more closer to the content creators. That’s basically in LA. They are just doing fine. The PlayStation is like a relative measure of deal sales and user attraction for them. And Sony has been a great partner for the company. Sony has been helping them get more content and also deal more access to more users as well.

Alan: It’s interesting that PlayStation– you hear so much hype about Oculus and HTC, but PlayStation is just delivering VR headset after VR headset. And two days ago, I was on my way to Chicago and in the airport there was a huge demonstration setup for PlayStation VR. And it wasn’t up and running yet, but you could see they were building it and it had… 6 demo stations built into it, right in the middle of the airport. And I thought that was really a great sign.

Teppei: Playstation has been really– they’ve been running the gaming platform for a long time, so they know to how to get more content on the platform and combining not only VR, but also like a gaming, simple like a PC or the console gaming, but together I think the more attractive to users. And the Playstation not only the Littlstar, but for other companies, they’ve been great content to work with.

Alan: Amazing. I’m actually just looking up these Ara blockchains, ara.one, is that the one?

Teppei: Yeah. That’s the one.

Alan: That’s pretty cool that they’re able to do that. And basically the blockchain content platform, very cool. Now, is that a separate company or is that under Littlstar?

Teppei: It’s a separate company.

Alan: Oh, great. So you’ve invested in that as well?

Teppei: No, we didn’t. We couldn’t really invest in the blockchain companies under the court fund one, because of the limitation on deal that’s been missing focus.

Alan: That makes total sense. The next one here is WaveVR and WaveVR started off as a DJ platform, so you could DJ in VR. And I actually had the opportunity to DJ at the Microsoft Build conference in — I want to say 2015 or 2016 — in the Wave, which was incredible. Obviously at the time it was very early days, and it wasn’t great for DJ’ing, but at least people got the understanding of that I could control things in VR for an audience. And since they’re– one of the things that that struck me about this is that it wasn’t just “here’s a way to dDJ” but here’s a way for entertainers and artists to expose their music and their art to different people, but on a platform that allowed people to not only just consume it but to interact with it. And one of the things that I heard — and I don’t know if this is true but maybe you can put this straight — is that they have a mechanism where you take these little pills and you share it with somebody, and then you go on a separate experience with other people. Is that correct? Is that still a thing?

Teppei: I’m not sure.

Alan: I thought that was amazing; selling digital drugs for real money.

Teppei: [chuckles]

Alan: But anyway, if that’s not part of it, then we won’t talk about it. Basically what they’re saying is a new type of interactive music experience, and tell us about WaveVR. Oh, Wave*XR* now.

Teppei: Yeah. They changed the name to WaveXR, because they’re not really– not only in VR, but more like broader experiences. Yeah. WaveVR is like a social platform, more like for virtual concerts. So anybody want to play the DJ or some like instruments in the virtual space. Yeah, like you mentioned, they started as more a platform only for the VR, but they’re now expanding to cover any PC, or consumer, or any platform that’s being done in virtually. Recently, they’ve been working with more real DJs and most the other famous artists and creating a virtual concert. One concert, the last month, the concert got about 400,000 users interacting in real-time. So that’s really good, one of the biggest concerts, even bigger than a real physical concert. So it was the– kind of showed the potential in holding a virtual concert, because there’s no boundary for the people to just join the concert. They can just join the concerts whenever they can, from online, from PC, or from mobile, they can still watch on Twitch. So that’s quite a– opening up a new opportunity for the artist, as well.

Alan: Absolutely. This gives the artist a whole new way to not only interact with their fans, but create new art as well.

Teppei: Yeah, absolutely. And also I’d like to try to work with the US more publishers, the game publishers, and also deal like the platform, add a platform as well. So that let’s say like the VRChat has– want to have some concert. They can just provide all the technology behind it, so that VRChat is just more like a platform that can partner with WaveXR, to organize this kind of technology concert for the users.

Alan: That’s pretty awesome. Moving towards kind of the more enterprise side of things you’ve got InsiteVR, which is a VR meeting space for architecture, engineering, and construction.

Teppei: Sure, yeah.

Alan: Tell us about that.

Teppei: So InsiteVR is the– it’s more like a Skype using any 3D models inside. So they’re now targeting– they’re more focused on direct architects, like construction companies. And they’ve been doing great, especially the turning point for the company was the Oculus Go and Oculus Quest. Before that, the PC– any of the tethered VR headset, they have to ask the customers to buy the PC or console or any platform that the contents can be played on. But with the introduction of the Oculus Go and Oculus Quest, it’s like a standalone headset, so they can actually bundle the hardware with their software content. So that’s kind of accelerated their user, their content’s growth and they have now more than 100 customers, paying customers, and they are making quite decent revenue as well. Yeah, we are real excited about their future, too.

Alan: That’s pretty cool. I really love it. And it’s interesting, because we’ve been doing an industry analysis on all the different technologies and– or a competitive comparison for all the different things. And the collaboration platforms, there’s actually 59 that have been identified. That’s a busy space. But I think, even though there’s 59, I think there’s room for all of them, to be honest with you. Because as companies start to realize the full potential of having meetings in VR, and being able to have design meetings, especially being able to bring in an architectural drawing or a CAD file, discuss it on the fly, having people from Japan and San Francisco in one room together without having to get on a flight. The savings for one flight pays for your annual license 10 times over.

Teppei: Right, yeah. That’s true.

Alan: Amazing technology and I think that’s a really– it’s gonna be a big hit for you guys. Let’s talk about– I know nothing about that one, sorry, I apologize. But what’s YBVR?

Teppei: Yeah, YBVR or first the streaming optimization technology for 360 video. So it can work with the content studio. Right now they’re focused on the sports, so they work with companies like streamers and any of the broadcasting companies. That’s one of the stream 360 video to users online. And they are currently working closely with some companies like Rakuten. Rakuten, they’re also a Japanese company, they own a few soccer team, they also like a big sponsor to the Golden State Warriors, and they also organize some tennis events, tennis matches. So they work with YBVR and YBVR can just to capture and export the games, and broadcast the 360 video to the users in real time. As long as I know, they’re the only company that does those optimization technologies in real-time. So yeah, they’re a really unique team, unique product and we are also really excited to recommend them, too.

Alan: It’s interesting. My one of my podcast today was with Michael [Shabun] from Insta360.

Teppei: OK.

Alan: And the first interview this morning was with Michael [Mansouri] from — another Michael, lots of Michaels today — from Radiant Images and Radiant Images has been doing a lot of work with live streaming, especially now that they have their Insta360 Titan 11K camera. It’s going to be more and more important to figure out streaming technologies for this, for live events.

Teppei: Yeah, exactly.

Alan: Exciting stuff. it’s exciting times, my friend. We’re in the middle of a revolution and you guys seem to have made some pretty good bets on technologies that are going to revolutionize this entire industry.

Teppei: Yeah, we are really excited about it.

Alan: So another one that I am familiar with is Streem. It’s actually– Charlie Fink’s son is part of that. And one of the things that Streem allows you to do is use your phone to get instructions for something, so basically almost like a remote expert. And so–

Teppei: Sure.

Alan: Talk to us about Streem.

Teppei: Streem, they have a technology — mobile AR-based technology — that’s helped the expert talk to the users over the phone and they combined just streaming the phone with the computer vision technology, so it can– they can detect all those details about devices or any furniture they are talking to. And that’s going to help the experts more accurately analyze data, what the problem is. The CEO is Ryan Fink. It’s kind of an interesting story, because I met him when still he was working for the previous company. I met him after CES — maybe three years ago — and he kind of indicated that he’s like leaving the company soon, to start his own business. And when I heard about his concept, I thought that this is going to be really huge. I know that home service space is a really huge market and there hasn’t been any solution like that before. So we just jumped on the opportunity and just now started working with him. And like the VRChat, I think we are the first money into their company.

Alan: It’s funny, you’ve made investments in companies that we’ve been friends with. So it’s awesome to have this like, “Oh I know all these people, it’s great.”

Teppei: It’s a small world.

Alan: [laughs] It really is a small world. Another one is Torch, Paul’s [Reynolds] company, and Paul is actually one of our mentors. And Charlie Fink is one of our mentors at the XR Ignite accelerator, [too]. Yeah. So we’ve pulled together. Right now we’re at 67 of the top mentors in the world for the accelerator. We wanted to create an accelerator that would take companies like these whether they’re pre-investment or post-investment and really help them to do business with enterprise. And so we’re really a B2B SAS marketplace-type accelerator, but Torch’s Paul is one of our mentors for this. And Torch is an AR authoring tool that lets you create augmented reality experiences. It started off as more of a prototyping tool, but it looks like it’s really starting to become more than that. So, talk to us about Torch.

Teppei: Yeah. Paul and his team, they started out as more like a design tool — a prototype tool — but as they listened to their customers and users, their users actually were more looking for some sort of authorizing tools in AR, so the user can just create contents and publish on multiple platforms at the same time. So as they listen to the users, they just tried to change the strategy a bit, and now are more focused on the AR-based authorizing tool. They’ve been working with the big companies so far, and… I think they haven’t made an announcement yet, but they’ve got a few good deals orbiting him.

Alan: Yeah, they make fun demos. There is one of planets all lined up on a table and there’s a travel one. This is really cool, and you know what? A great group of people doing fantastic work, and I can’t support them enough. If you want to visit, it’s torch.app. What else have we got here that’s VR-related in your portfolio? Did I miss anything?

Teppei: We actually made about 22 investments in the VR and AR space. That — I think — only covered maybe half of it. [laughs]

Alan: Wow.

Teppei: Plus 10 more companies, but I guess we don’t have time to just go through them. But just to highlight…

Alan: Do you just want to talk to them quick, and then… we’ll do a part 2!

Teppei: Sure. There’s a company called Sturfee; they’re creating mapping in the computer world. So they maybe fall under the category of the AR cloud, but they’re more focused on outdoor, and the technology is quite unique too. They take satellite images of the city and they create a 3-D mapping of cities, like actual city streets and buildings. And if users use the phone camera to extrude some buildings, it can just identify where that camera is located, where they are heading, and where they’re looking at. With that, content creators can create actual games or any advertising signs on the buildings or streets attaching to it. So it’s interesting technology, and they have good traction too. They recently announced a multi-year agreement with one of the biggest mobile carriers in Japan. They’re just great, really unique technology, and a strong team.

Alan: OK. What’s next? We got Sturfee.

Teppei: Yeah. Another company is apprentice.io. It’s a New York-based company and they are an AR/AI driven solution for pharmaceutical companies. They automate everything, every single process, of production and R&D development cycles at their pharmaceutical companies. Those like pharma need to record every single step.

Alan: This is like PTC’s Expert Capture. But for pharma.

Teppei: Right. You can set a course, they can send human resources and just streamline the process.

Alan: I have a customer for you guys. That’s great. We’ve got to talk quickly — I know it’s not to B2B — but Facemoji. How cool is that?

Teppei: Facemoji’s a really interesting company. So they have a kind of interesting video/photo app that anybody can like a broadcast or take a photo of yourself like a selfie with your favorite Avatar or some. So you can create any person any like animals any Avatar is this based on like what you need what you want you like and you can just like a livestream like whatever you want to say and capture it. The video showed a video of it and share with your friends and families. So that’s like a really interesting new way of self-expression for young teenagers and quite popular in the teens. So it’s like more like a Gen Z type of the other way users.

Alan: It’s really cool; it takes a photo or a video and turns you into an emoji almost like the one that Snapchat bot anyway. But it’s in three dimensions which is pretty cool. So I assume that the future will you’ll be able to drop yourself into AR and VR and all those sorts of things. So very cool. What else have you got, anything else? There’s I’m sure there’s a bunch you got, 10 more so.

Teppei: Yeah I guess. OK. So one of our companies is called Phiar, it’s a car navigation tool based in AR. So it’s more like AR on a Google map. So if you’re driving from one point to the other, you have to see the Google map on a flat screen; but instead of looking down at an app, if you use a Phiar, it’s just using the smartphone camera.

Alan: So basically, instead of putting your phone on your dashboard and you have it up high, it’s kind of on your screen and it’s overlaying the directions on top in realistic which that’ll probably be where we go with glasses anyway. So they’re kind of ahead of the curve. The only thing I have with these air navigation tools is that it’s so easy for Google to come along and just do that and I wonder about the long term longevity of these types of things anyway. My job is not to get into that but it’s definitely interesting technology.

Teppei: I’m sure Google is working on it, but Phiar’s team is like really nimble and fast. So I think they can get to the market for the first product on the market; that’s a good advantage for them. And Google has been creating the Google map. They also bought Waze too. So they can be both working on something but acquiring some other consumer programs.

Alan: Yes I think there’s gonna be lots and lots of acquisitions that it’s already starting last week there was Apple acquired Akonia. Verizon acquired Jaunt and Facebook or Control Labs. So the acquisitions are coming.

Teppei: It is. It is coming.

Alan: Which is fantastic. Well, I want to thank you for taking the time. I mean, we could basically talk about this all day every day and probably still never get to everything but I want to say thank you for taking the time to spend with us today and explain these different companies that you’re invested in and your strategies. It’s really been enlightening. What is one problem in the world that you want to see solved using XR technologies?

Teppei: That’s a great question. I’d just say, remote control like that. Maybe the concept that Streem is trying to solve, but you don’t have to be actually there but you can just see the things feel things and talk to other people but you can actually feel the presence. So that’s the like maybe the biggest program for VR or XR is solving and I’d love to see it out there that’s going to be happening in the future. The new future.

Alan: So what do you mean, touch it? Haptics?

Teppei: Haptics; that you can see things with the video maybe, but you can feel and actually touch the things. So with the haptics, maybe grabbing a wall or just grabbing these glasses; you can still feel that haptics. And it’s not only haptics, but to combine everything together so that’s like more a total solution for you in AR.

Alan: You know, it’s amazing. Last week I was at the Florida Simulation Summit. It’s a military simulation summit and we got to try the Haptex gloves and there is these ugly looking giant Gloves they look like you’re a giant robot. And if anybody they used to have the Nintendo Power Glove? It was like that, only with cables and stuff hanging out all the end.

Teppei: Yeah.

Alan: Connected to a giant box on the table. But once you put the gloves on you put the VR headset that you can’t see them anyway so it doesn’t matter when I put on the VR headset I reached out and there was somebody in front of me I could touch them and I could pick up things and feel like they were really in my hand. And one of the things I picked up I was that I was supposed to be a medic was medic training and I picked up a needle and they said take the lid off the needle and stick your finger on it. And when I did that it scared the crap out of me because it hurt like a needle and obviously didn’t hurt me but because I was looking at a needle and I put my finger on a needle and it buzzed. It stuck with me and it was that combination of tactile and visuals and sound that just I was fully immersed in I think I have to go for some PTSD treatment after that because it was a very graphic simulation.

Teppei: Wow.

Alan: But I think you’re absolutely right in doing that. Have you tried those gloves yet?

Teppei: Not that one yet but I tried a couple other Haptics gloves.

Alan: Nice. What’s the best ones you’ve tried so far?

Teppei: Hmmmm…

Alan: You don’t have to say anything. All of them really aren’t very good yet. [laughs]

Teppei: Right.

Alan: [laughs] Let’s just leave it at that. The Haptex ones were great except for the fact that you have to have a giant box.

Teppei: Yeah. That’s the biggest problem for haptics right now.

Alan: There’s new ones that just were released today. They’re just in the research phase but they’re just like a little almost like a little skin that goes over your fingers. So we’ll see how that goes.

Teppei: Wow, that might be interesting.

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