On August 15, the shiny new headquarters of start-up incubator CoMotion Labs will officially open in the University District. It’s the newest venture for this ambitious project of the University of Washington, which already houses two CoMotion spaces at the University’s Fluke Hall and Startup Hall (which includes a number of tech labs and a makerspace).
The new space will become many things to many people: a co-working space for start-ups, a place where VR companies and artists can collaborate, and a laboratory and tech incubator for new, emerging companies and professionals to develop and grow their vision.
Companies at CoMotion labs will have access to office space, meeting rooms, laboratories, VR/AR equipment, as well as educational and business programs and a host of networking opportunities.
The first two companies to reserve desks at CoMotion were MultiModal Health, which uses virtual reality to promote physical therapy, and Mechanical Dreams, a Seattle-based production company specializing in VR/AR and 360 video (who participated in SIFFX’s Fly Story in June).
Since then, almost all the desks are taken: 11 more companies have jumped aboard the CoMotion bandwagon and signed up, leaving their space already 91% full. Other start-ups who have signed on include Invrse Studios, Binomial, and telport.us.
Dubbed the “Silicon Rainforest” by some, there’s no doubt that Seattle is fast becoming a center for VR/AR technology and a hotbed for innovating these emerging technologies. But CoMotion Labs is determined to make sure it’s not just a silo for tech needs; it’s a place for creative development as well.
“We like to think of ourselves as a convening space, working towards an ‘inclusive innovation mindset,” explains Elizabeth Scallon, Associate Director of CoMotion Labs, “that brings the voices of film, art, and social justice to the table, in addition to the tech aspects.”
To help work towards this convening, longtime filmmaker, innovator, and Stranger Genius Award nominee Sandy Cioffi plans to help pull other filmmakers and creatives into the mix. She hopes CoMotion can be another resource in the community helps bridge the gap between tech and art in Seattle.
“The artists don’t know how to find the technologists,” Cioffi says. “And the technologists from what I can tell don’t know how to find the artists either. For VR, Los Angeles has a lot of the distribution figured out; that’s what they do well. But we could do something really different that’s just here for the taking. A cross-pollination of sorts.”