Venice-based GIGXR's New Partnership With the Air Force Academy Will Bring VR to Wartime Training

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Venice-based GIGXR's New Partnership With the Air Force Academy Will Bring VR to Wartime Training
Courtesy of GIGXR

Venice-based VR company GIGXR is partnering with the Air Force Academy to simulate wartime applications.

Nursing students at the University of Pennsylvania who couldn't make it into the classroom during the pandemic have been examining virtual patients — replete with lesions, temperature and other symptoms — via an app on their phone.


The technology produced by Venice-based GIGXR was so intriguing that the two-year old company recently caught the interest of the Air Force Academy based in Colorado, which was the recipient of a $750,000 grant to develop a mixed-reality program called HoloChem.

The program will use mixed reality, in which augmented reality components interact with the real world environment, to immerse students in what would otherwise be impossible situations, allowing them to see, for instance, how different gasses react to atmospheric conditions on the moon. The aim is to provide critical chemistry principles.

"We're providing a universe where an Air Force Academy instructor can teach a cohort of students either on campus or remotely dispersed and move them through a series of experiments so that they can get the knowledge they need, the experience they need, and with absolutely no risk," said GIGXR CEO David King Lassman.

Augmented and virtual reality technology have long been heralded as the future of education, but never stuck, either due to lack of school funds or lack of efficacy. Google Glass, once heralded as a moonshot edtech product, was never widely adopted.

"You can throw money at something and throw the tech out there," said Mina Johnson, a psychology professor at Arizona State University who has been making mixed reality content in educational environments for 20 years. "But if you don't have good use cases worked out, then it's not going to get uptake."

But studies have shown that AR and VR applications in the classroom could prove to be more than just another edtech fad, especially for concepts like physics and chemistry. A study co-authored by Johnson found that students who could physically interact with physics concepts through AR found the lesson to be more engaging.

"It's easier to learn 3D content with a 3D medium," Johnson said. "So if you want to learn about electromagnetic waves which move around you in a 3D manner, then I think you can use those mediums."

GIGXR, whose growth was accelerated in the midst of the pandemic when students could no longer come to class, is one of a growing subset of AR, VR and mixed reality tech companies harnessing a socially distant learning environment to make education more immersive.

The company partnered with around 40 institutions around the world, including a slew of medical education networks including the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. The school relies on HoloPatient, another one of the company's applications that uses virtual patients to represent 16 different diseases or injuries. The technology mimics real-world situations in which students have to react on the fly to situations with life-or-death consequences.

"That lends itself to a connected and immersive experience, which in turn lends itself very well to anything that requires training and learning dynamic where you're having to learn things that are complex...that you can't see readily with the human eye," Lassman said.

GIGXR's technology uses a blend of mixed-reality and gameplay techniques. Through Microsoft's Hololens, a pair of mixed-reality smart glasses, or through the GIGXR app on a smartphone, students can superimpose a 3D patient into their environment and walk around them to check for injuries or marks, while a dashboard of the patient's biometric information is shown nearby.

Guided by the instructor, students can treat the patient virtually, and the instructor can control the biometric information based on their treatments, either slowing down the heart rate or raising the blood pressure.

Lassman called it "really useful when you think about the health care space. I'm looking at incredibly complicated models, the human body, how the cardiovascular system works, how the heart beats."

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Greater Good Health Raises $10 Million To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Greater Good Health Raises $10 Million To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage
Courtesy of Greater Good Health

The pandemic highlighted what’s been a growing trend for years: Medical students are prioritizing high-paying specialty fields over primary care, leading to a shortage of primary care doctors who take care of a patient’s day-to-day health concerns. These physicians are a cornerstone of preventative health care, which when addressed can lower health care costs for patients, insurers and the government. But there’s a massive shortage of doctors all over the country, and the pipeline for primary care physicians is even weaker.

One local startup is offering a possible answer to this supply squeeze: nurse practitioners.

On Wednesday, Manhattan Beach-based Greater Good Health unveiled a $10 million Series A funding round led by LRVHealth, which adds to the startup’s $3 million seed round last year. The company employs nurse practitioners and pairs them with doctor’s offices and medical clinics; this allows nurse practitioners to take on patients who would otherwise have to wait weeks, or even months, to see a doctor.

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Plus Capital Partner Amanda Groves on Celebrity Equity Investments

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
PLUS Capital​’s Amanda Groves.
Courtesy of Amanda Groves.

On this episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, Amanda Groves talks about how PLUS Capital advises celebrity investors and why more high-profile individuals are choosing to invest instead of endorse.

As a partner at PLUS, Groves works with over 70 artists and athletes, helping to guide their investment strategies. PLUS advises their talent roster to combine their financial capital with their social capital and focus on five investment areas: the future of work, future of education, health and wellness, the conscious consumer and sustainability.

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Rivian Stock Roller Coaster Continues as Amazon Van Delivery Faces Delays

David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

Rivian Stock Roller Coaster Continues as Amazon Van Delivery Faces Delays
Courtesy of Rivian.

Rivian’s stock lost 7% yesterday on the back of news that the company could face delays in fulfilling Amazon’s order for a fleet of electric delivery vans due to legal issues with a supplier. The electric vehicle maker is suing Commercial Vehicle Group (CVG) over a pricing dispute related to the seats that the supplier promised, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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