Alumni and Friends

Three GRID Lab Bobcats take their knowledge to virtual reality company INV3RSION

Nearly 40% of the staff of INV3RSION, a virtual reality (VR) company in New Hampshire, is made up of Bobcat Alumni from the Scripps College of Communication who were involved with the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab. Luke Nimmo (B.S.C. ’17), Chris Garcia (B.S.C. ’19) and Riker Thomas (B.S.C. ’23) are three of the cutting-edge company’s eight employees.

INV3RSION was founded in 2003 with a mission to apply 3D visualization to scientific and engineering problems. The company provides virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) solutions for many kinds of clients that include academic institutions, large companies, small businesses, and startups.

“I was the first one to work here right after I graduated from Ohio University in 2017,” said Nimmo, INV3RSION digital solutions specialist. 

As a digital solutions specialist, Nimmo helps clients achieve success using VR CAVEs (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment), which is a VR environment consisting of a cube-shaped VR room or a room-scale area in which the walls, floors and ceilings are projection screens, along with headset-based solutions. He provides day-to-day support for clients and has expertise in creating virtual tours and other digital media.

“A couple of years after I started, the company began to grow and got busy, so we needed to bring in another person so I could have a little support. And it was just by happen stance that Chris applied.”

Nimmo and Garcia did not know each other before Garcia applied at INV3RSION. But Nimmo knew the experience that Garcia had through being a part of the GRID Lab at Ohio University made him more than qualified for the job.

The GRID Lab allows students opportunities to work on the research and development of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality experience and technology, serious and educational games, simulations, computer animation, and motion capture to create interactive digital media and technologies. 

In 2019, Garcia was offered the job and became INV3RSION’s software development project manager. In that role, Garcia provides direction and assistance for software development. Nimmo and Garcia worked together for about four years, before the third Bobcat was added to the team. 

“When I was graduating in 2023, Chris reached out to professors at the GRID Lab when INV3RSION needed to hire someone and they recommended me,” said Thomas. “I was hired as VR studio manager.”

As VR studio manager, Thomas provides daily support to clients in a visualization studio.

“I think the GRID Lab really did a really good job preparing me, specifically the professors I dealt with,” said Thomas. “John Bowditch, (associate professor and director of the GRID Lab), was the one main professor that I bounced stuff off of during my senior year. I could go to him for anything. It was good way to adapt what I had been learning in the classroom outside the classroom as well. I used the skills I was developing to build up my resumé.”

“The GRID Lab prepared me directly for this position. We use the same kind of technology we were using in the GRID Lab,” said Nimmo.

“I think the GRID lab uniquely qualified me for this position,” said Garcia. “The main reason for getting involved at the GRID Lab is to gain familiarity with immersive technology. After being able to spend two years working hands-on with full scale VR and AR 360 video, I learned so much. I learned how it worked and what to avoid. We learned a lot of theory about how immersive technology works in class, then I took what I learned in the VR curriculum and got to practically experience it with what I did at the GRID lab.” 

Nimmo, Garcia and Thomas say the experience students are able to have at the GRID Lab provides unique professional training, and it’s the reason they all believe more Bobcats will be hired at INV3RSION in the future.

“If more jobs open up, we feel like the Ohio University GRID Lab is the first place to look,” said Nimmo. “I’m thankful that the GRID Lab came around when it did and prepared me the most for this career. The hands-on training from the GRID Lab, along with the expertise from professors and the wiliness to embrace all of the new technologies, really set us up for success.”

“The GRID Lab is a resource for everyone at OHIO regardless of major,” said GRID Lab Audio Supervisor Chip Linscott. “If students want to learn more about games, VR/AR/MR, and other immersive technologies, they can come visit us on the second floor of Scripps Hall. We often hire student workers for projects, and we have volunteer opportunities for those who might want a little extra experience. Of course, we’ve got a range of classes students can take, and we love to demonstrate our gear and facilities.”

April 22, 2024
Cheri Russo