Street Smarts VR designs and creates original virtual reality training content that simulates the most difficult policing encounters to help improve officer decision-making.
Street Smarts VR (SSVR) designs and creates original virtual reality (VR) training content that simulates the most difficult policing encounters to help improve officer decision-making and reduce avoidable police-citizen violence. SSVR products are designed to be used in the officers’ home precinct to maximize access to training. Conceived in early 2017 at the New York City Media Lab by a former Marine Corps officer, Oliver Noteware, and a former emergency responder, Alice Formwalt, SSVR is a prototype and pilot testing is being conducted with police departments near New York and Philadelphia. So far, 12 virtual reality scenarios have been created and a repeatable, scalable content-production process has been developed.
Oliver Noteware, a former Marine Corps officer, and Alice Formwalt, a former emergency responder, conceived of Street Smarts VR in early 2017 at the New York City Media Lab. Their awareness of the issue of police-citizen violence, and a frustration with the nature of the general conversation, led them to start asking questions about why levels of violence are so high and what could be done about it. During the fall of 2017, Alice and Oliver delayed full-time jobs and continued to build SSVR. Alice recruited a technical co-founder and refined the product design while Oliver handled all administrative aspects of running the company. Together, the team finished building the prototype and began pilot testing.
We completed our prototype in October 2017 and have been refining it by conducting pilots with police departments near New York and Philadelphia. We have created 12 virtual reality scenarios and developed a repeatable, scalable content-production process. We have halved the cost of our content production from $2,800 to $1,400 per minute of content and intend to further reduce that to $1,000 per minute. We have won grants and awards from public-private partnerships including from the New York City Media Lab, received investment from First Round Capital's Dorm Room Fund, and launched a $100,000 friends and family round to cover engineering salaries through 2018.
GSVC represents a highly impactful, worldwide community of students, social advocates, and experts empowering social entrepreneurs like SSVR to make real social impact on a global scale. In the short term, GSVC will enable us to build a full-time team and develop all the support functions necessary to sustain sales efforts, such as marketing material, deployment/installation teams, and customer service support. In the long term, backing by GVSC means positive support and traction towards expanding our product offering, as we dedicate ourselves to incorporating the perspectives of communities disproportionately affected by this issue, both at home and abroad.