James Jensen, co-founder and creator of VR attraction The Void, recently unveiled his next VR startup which aims to bring the thrills of wingsuit skydiving to people particularly averse to jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.
The company, called JUMP, exited its two-year stint in stealth mode this past weekend. According to Jensen’s LinkedIn page, he’s been working as CEO of Jump since March 2018, or just a few months before he left his position as Chief Visionary Officer at The Void.
— Jump (@limitlessjump) October 6, 2020
Not much is known about Jump yet, however the company’s website LimitlessFlight.com maintains users will be able suit up into a certified wingsuit and don a VR headset for some lifelike thrills. Promo material appears to show a tethered VR headset integrated into a masked skydiving helmet. Locations hosting Jump’s wingsuit experience are said to arrive sometime in 2021.
However vague, here’s how Jump describes the experience:
Imagine being able to perform one of the world’s most dangerous and technically difficult stunts with little to no training, no parachuting experience, no cost for equipment and setup, and no risk of death trying to pull it off. What would you do (and how much would it cost) for such an experience?
Would you dedicate years of your life, spend thousands of dollars, and practice life-threatening jumps time and time again just to risk dying in the end? Any way you look at it, this would be an unattainable experience for 99.9% of people on this planet … until now.
Jump has attracted expertise across both real-life skydiving and immersive design. Academy Award-winning designer John Gaeta has signed onto the project as an advisor; Gaeta is best known for pioneering ‘Bullet Time’ for The Matrix films, his work on volumetric capture methods, and for co-founding Lucasfilms’ immersive skunkworks ILMxLAB.
Professional skydiver Marshall Miller, who is also the co-founder and managing director at GoPro’s jump team ‘Bomb Squad’, is also listed among the company’s team.
It’s unclear what sort of setup we can expect from Jump, however the company has also attracted Head Rigger for Cirque du Soleil Jim Shumway, who is also ETCP Certified in arena and theater rigging.
It’s possible Jump users will suit-up and be suspended via some sort of tether while experiencing their virtual flight, possibly with the same cadre of added multi-sensory effects that users can experience at The Void, which includes wind, sound, and heat to enhance the VR experience. Further speculation: such a single-serving experience could be deployed as a pop-up installation instead of a brick-and-mortar affair, something that potential investors may see as a boon in wooing the paying public back to out-of-home VR after a lengthy global lockdown.
We’re hoping to learn more about Jump in the coming months, as the company is well positioned to be one of the first location-based entertainment startups to emerge during what we hope to be the year of recovery for the industry.