48. Curiscope

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Founders: Ed Barton and Ben Kidd
Founded: January 2016 (launched October 2017)
Website: curiscope.co.uk

Over recent years, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) has burst onto the market as an exciting medium for entertainment – think Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR… even Pokémon Go.

Yet while gaming sits on the cusp of a virtual revolution, what about other public interests like education?

Enter Curiscope, the Brighton start-up combining VR and AR’s entertainment factor with educational experiences to encourage exciting and immersive learning.

Led by former web developer and filmmaker Ed Barton and BAFTA-nominated 3D visual artist Ben Kidd, Curiscope’s journey began on YouTube.

The start-up’s 360-degree shark dive video gained over 29 million views – making it one of the most-viewed VR experiences ever.

Buoyed by the positive reaction to their work, the duo launched their first product: Virtuali-Tee, a t-shirt which, when worn and viewed through a connected app, displays a life-like 3D animation of the internal organs. Users can actively ‘explore’ human anatomy through their smart devices or a VR headset.

Excited by this unique educational product, over 1,500 backers invested in the Virtuali-Tee crowdfunding campaign, which raised over £74,000 and shipped in October 2017.

Following this success, Curiscope has partnered with HTC to launch virtual deep-sea dive experience Operation Apex, and is working with Dorling Kindersley to create All About Virtual Reality: a book containing five educational VR experiences for readers to explore.

To date, Curiscope has raised £750,000 funding and harbours plans to expand into the US. The business has been lauded by the media, with Barton gaining Forbes’ 30 Under 30 status earlier this year.

With a catalogue of accessible products enabling users to learn about the lesser-seen parts of our universe, we’re excited to see what this start-up does next. As Barton and Kidd say, “for us this has always been about bringing this incredible technology to everybody”.

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