The Business of Virtual Reality

written by: Ashley Szanter     photos courtesy of: Adam Finkle

THE VOID pioneers immersive VR technology.

New York City. Dubai. Toronto. Lindon. As in Lindon, Utah?

These cities all host THE VOID’s immersive virtual reality experience. Enthusiasts may have already tried VR technology at home with HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, but THE VOID is on the forefront of revolutionizing a multi-sensory VR experience—sight, hearing, smell and touch.

Chief Operating Officer and President Kari St. John works at THE VOID’s headquarters in Lindon—little more than an exit off Interstate 15 in Utah County. It’s an odd location for a company Time and Forbes hail as a VR leader. “We’re experience-builders. We provide people with opportunities to explore places that otherwise they couldn’t explore,” says St. John, adding, “Ultimately, we’re storytellers.”

And their facility tells quite a story. Seemingly plucked out of Silicon Valley, the post-industrial mansion houses engineers and designers who craft THE VOID’s worlds. St. John explains, “THE VOID creates those immersive worlds by mapping digital worlds on physical space, so you can touch and feel and become part of that environment.”

I am prohibited from discussing VOID technology, but I don’t think I’ll get in legal trouble saying the Ghostbusters Dimension VR experience is quite trippy. I’ve tried at-home VR systems before, but this was an entirely different experience that allowed me to touch objects in virtual worlds, feel temperature changes and breezes when I was “outside,” fear the 12-story heights I looked down and even experience the scent of freshly roasted marshmallows after defeating the iconic Stay Puft marshmallow villain. St. John nails it when he says, “Grownups go in, kids come out.”

VOID’s Lindon facility uses its neighbors in developing its VR. “We consider ourselves part of the community . . . [locals] get to be part of where we go from here,” says St. John. Each time THE VOID develops a new VR world, locals participate through beta testing before the tech opens to the public. “We’re just at the tip of where this tech is going.”

Tickets are $25 per person for  10 to 15 minutes of VR. If that doesn’t seem like a great entertainment value, remember—you’re pioneering cutting-edge technology.

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Ashley Szanter
Ashley Szanter
Ashley Szanter is a contributing writer for Salt Lake magazine as well as a freelance writer and editor. She loves writing about everything Utah, but has a special interest in Northern Utah (here's looking at you, Ogden and Logan).

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