Professional Development
Accelerators / VR

This accelerator is looking to bring Baltimore XR projects to life

The DevLab XR Accelerator is looking to support immersive projects such as films, games, apps, art and experiences. The six-week program is the first in a series of programs this year from Kaleidoscope, RYOT and Johns Hopkins' Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund.

VR at MICA Game Lab's Fall Arcade. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)



Johns Hopkins University will host the DevLab XR Accelerator 2019 from Oct. 16 to Dec. 5 in an effort to support augmented reality projects created by those in underserved communities. 

This year, virtual reality (VR) network Kaleidoscope, which organized the event, is partnering with Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund at JHU and immersive media company RYOT in order to expand the outreach of the program. 

The six-week program seeks to support new content such as immersive films, games, apps, art and experiences. The program selects 10 new extended reality (XR) projects each year. Those admitted participate in weekly lectures and earn mentorship from industry leaders.

They’ll also present their project at First Look, Kaleidoscope’s two-day marketplace event, providing a chance to attract investors.

Two spots in the DevLab program are reserved for Baltimore teams. They will have the opportunity to become Saul Zaentz Fellows, giving them access to development funds. Follow this link to apply.

Participants may also attend the XR Summit, which runs in conjunction with the second day of First Look on December 6. The summit allows community members to have firsthand experience with augmented reality projects.

“The last two years, it’s really been the local community with the exception of speakers and presentations,” said Annette Porter, director of Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund. “But this year, we’re expecting a couple hundred people to come and participate, [including] investors from outside of Baltimore, so it’s taking it to a new level.”

Both events will take place at the Station North Arts District.

The First Look marketplace normally takes place strictly in Los Angeles, but success from past DevLab participants has changed that. 

Previous projects have raised more than $4 million in funding, been nominated for an Emmy, won the Grand Prix for VR at Venice, secured the first seven-figure deal for a VR film at Sundance and have premiered at more than 40 major festivals around the world.

“We’re glad to raise a buzz in Baltimore,” Porter said.

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