When Dennis Shewmaker did his university senior project on virtual reality in 1996 he wasn’t sure his career would take him back into the technology. At that time VR tech was cost prohibitive, and only extremely large companies and universities could afford the equipment. Fast-forward to the present day, and Shewmaker’s Eagle-based company, Funnel 33, is on the cutting edge of virtual reality experiences at large-scale events.
Shewmaker and Funnel 33’s move back into virtual reality began in 2015 with the Oculus DK2. They cobbled a number of units together (even going so far as to buy several off eBay) and created a multiplayer VR racing game that Hewlett Packard debuted at their largest annual conference. Funnel 33 was one of the first to market with a multiplayer experience, overcoming a number of technical hurdles. The game was wildly popular at the conference. They knew they were on to something, and VR has been a successful revenue generator for them ever since. Despite having branched out into other technologies, like AR, VR continues to be a major focus, one that showcases their high-tech ability and forward-thinking mindset. With or without VR, they specialize in helping their partners leverage creative technology at events. They work at events like Coachella, PAX gaming festivals and tennis tournaments for the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).
When we spoke about what’s next for VR, Shewmaker sees a lot of opportunity in the training space. He says we aren’t quite at the point where people are completely bought in yet as there’s still some convincing that has to take place. He says VR is proven to work—you just have to communicate it with people.
We are excited to have Funnel 33 as part of the Idaho VR community! If you’d like to connect with Funnel 33, they can be reached at:
+1 208 272-9046