new tech-enabled experience

Immersive mixed-reality exhibit lights up Houston-area suburb

Grab a lantern and enter an epic journey. Photo courtesy of Department of Wonder

Immersive experiences are all the rage; Houston already boasts two Van Gogh experiences (including yoga) and a Frida Kahlo event on the way.

Now, a new entertainment concept offering up exploration and discovery will open its first Houston location in Sugar Land in early 2022. But rather than passive viewing, this immersive activity sets the visitors on a quest in both physical and digital worlds.

Department of Wonder is a new, 10,000-square-foot venue that stages an immersive, mixed-reality fantasy in Sugar Land’s Town Square (2180 Lone Star Dr.). Guests wield a light-gathering lantern and are charged with unraveling stories and solving puzzles amidst a universe of interactive experiences and colorful characters, per a release.

This totally lit experience was forged by an acclaimed creative team of storytellers; recognizable names include Academy Award-winning director Brandon Oldenburg and Emmy Award-winning director Limbert Fabian.

“It’s like stepping inside a film as the main character and being bestowed an epic quest,” said Oldenburg in a statement. “We think it’s the next evolution of location-based entertainment.”

The introduction of the Department of Wonder will coincide with the completion of significant streetscape improvements to the 32-acre Sugar Land Town Square. The bustling shopping, dining, and community hub is in the midst of a major set of upgrades to retail tenancy, event programming, and the physical environment.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Here's your latest roundup of innovation news you may have missed. Photo via Getty Images

It's been a new month and a few Houston startup wrapped up November with news you may have missed.

In this roundup of short stories within Houston startups and tech, three Houston startups across health care, space, and sports tech have some news they announced recently.

Houston digital health company launches new collaboration

Koda Health has a new partner. Image via kodahealthcare.com

Houston-based Koda Health announced a new partnership with data analytics company, CareJourney.

"This collaboration will aim to develop benchmarking data for advance care planning and end-of-life metrics," the company wrote on LinkedIn. "Koda will provide clinical and practice-based expertise to guide the construction of toolkits, dashboards, and benchmarks that improve ACP programs and end-of-life outcomes."

Koda Health announced the partnership in November..

“Beyond the checkbox of a billing code or completed advance directive, it’s important to build and measure a process that promotes thoughtful planning among patients, their care team, and their loved ones,” says Desh Mohan, MD, Koda's chief medical officer, in the post.

CareJourney was founded in 2014 in Arlington, Virginia.

"I'm hopeful next-generation quality measures will honor the patient’s voice in defining what it means to deliver high quality care, and our commitment is to measure progress on that important endeavor," noted Aneesh Chopra, CareJourney's co-founder and president.

Sports tech startup raises $500,000 pre-seed investment

BeONE Sports has created a technology to enhance athletic training. Photo via beonesports.com

Houston-founded BeONE Sports, an athlete training technology company, announced last month that it closed an oversubscribed round of pre-seed funding. The company announced the raise on its social media pages that the round included $500,000 invested.

Earlier in November, BeONE Sports completed its participation in CodeLaunch DFW 2022. The company was one of six finalists in the program, which concluded with a pitch event on November 16.

Space tech company snags government contracts

Graphic via cognitive space.com

The U.S. Air Force has extended Houston-based Cognitive Space’s contract under a new TACFI, Tactical Funding Increase, award. According to the release, the contract "builds on Cognitive Space’s work to develop a tailored version of CNTIENT for AFRL to achieve ultimate responsiveness and optimized dynamic satellite scheduling via a cloud-based API.

The $1.2 million award follows a $1.5 million U.S. Air Force Small Business Innovation Research award that the company won in 2020 to integrate CNTIENT with commercial ground station providers in support of AFRL’s Hybrid Architecture Demonstration program.

“The TACFI award allows Cognitive Space to continue supporting AFRL’s vitally important HAD program to help deliver commercial space data to the warfighter,” says Guy de Carufel, the company’s founder and CEO, in the releasee. “CNTIENT’s tailored analytics platform will enable HAD and the GLUE platform to integrate modern statistical approaches to optimize mission planning, data collection, and latency estimation.”

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