A local VR company is finding traction with a product that you can literally feel on your skin.
Balti Virtual created temporary tattoos called HoloTats that include an additional layer of augmented reality. The temporary tattoos interact with a mobile app. Holding the phone over the tattoo animates it in 3D.
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The tats have led to partnerships with players in Baltimore and a distribution deal.
The Maryland Zoo and National Aquarium found that temporary tattoos of sea creatures were another way to engage audiences, and they’re also sold at aMuse Toys in Fells Point, said Balti Virtual cofounder Will Gee, a longtime video game developer and entrepreneur who decided in 2015 to focus exclusively on AR and VR.
The company recently signed deals that will lead to the temporary tattoos being available beyond Baltimore, too. Gee said Balti Virtual signed agreements with companies connected to the Tuscon, Ariz.-based Tattoo Manufacturing Inc.
The deals open up the tattoos to becoming available in mass-market retail through the affiliate Savvi, and promotional products for other companies through California Tattoo. With the early local growth, the company retained rights to provide HoloTats to some independent outlets.
But even as the company expands naturally, they remain interested in building community in Baltimore. Gee is one of the organizers of the BmoreVR meetup, which is set to have its next event on Sept. 27 during Baltimore Innovation Week.
Gee and Shawn Patrick Flaherty are always demoing at the meetup, but over the past year it has also become a gathering point for the fledgling community of devs and startups using VR and AR.
Balti Virtual also recently moved into space in City Garage in Port Covington, meaning they’re now located around other growing companies. It offers a chance to exchange ideas. And, of course, anyone touring the space can rub on a HoloTat.