Atari founder Nolan Bushnell launches Modal VR


Nolan Bushnell, a pioneer of video gaming from four decades ago, teams up with Jason Crawford, an entrepenteur. The result of this collaboration is the launch of Modal VR on October 12, 2016. This technology provides superior virtual reality experiences that are specifically designed for a large array of various businesses.

Virtual reality (VR) creates immersive, computer-generated environments. The simulated environments are so convincing that users react the same way that they would in real life. Sensory information from the outside is blocked out. VR uses visual and auditory cues and makes the virtual world appear to be real. Modal VR enables companies to set up experiences that are life-size and large-scale. Bushnell said, “We think this is the next generation. We want to help enterprises solve problems by looking at them from another point of view.”

A Technology Pioneer: Nolan Bushnell

Along with being a technology pioneer, Nolan Bushnell is an entrepreneur and a scientist. He is referred to as “the father of the video game industry”. Also, he is best known as the founder of the Atari Corporation.

During the span of four decades, Bushnell forms numerous companies. Most of his companies pioneer new technologies, such as:

  • Catalyst Technologies, the first technology incubator.
  • Etak, the first car navigation system whose mapping remains the basis for today’s car navigation systems. •Androbot, a personal robotics company.
  • ByVideo, the first online ordering system.

He has a particular interest in start-up companies that design and use innovative technology.

Additionally, he serves as a consultant for several corporations: IBM, Cisco Systems and US Digital Communications.

Bushnell has a fascination with brain science. Brainrush uses his educational software to teach academic subjects 10 times faster than the speed of learning in typical classrooms with over 90% retention. He uses video game metrics to encourage learners to become enthusiasts of academic subjects. His Anti-Aging games help seniors avoid and delay many of the problems of mental aging. Game exercises help to maintain mental flexibility and problem solving. With these educational concepts, he is able to incorporate his interest in brain research and science with technology.

Bushnell’s innovations receive world-wide recognition. He is one of Newsweek’s “50 Men That Changed America.” He is the recipient numerous awards from European countries and the United States.

Modal VR

Goal of the Company.

Many companies from different industries can use the platform to create their own immersive experiences that meet their needs.

Starting the Company.

After reading his biography, it indicates that Nolan is ready to form and join new advanced technological companies. Actually, Crawford starts Modal VR a few years before Bushnell joins the team. After trial and error, he asks Nolan to join him. They are the the co-founders of the Modal VR company.

The Modal VR System.

This technology allows for people to visualize, train, create, and collaborate with others. The company creates hardware and software as part of its platform to help different industries identify needs and be successful.

The hardware consists of a visor, the VR Fabricator, and a full body suit.

  • The visor is lightweight and wireless.
  • A VR Fabricator connects with a laptop that is running a specific application. It manages up to ten users at once. The VR Fabricator manages positioning and tracking of full-body motion. Multi-users are able to interact. Also, the system can be networked via LAN or WAN. The unit is mountable, or it can remain portable. It functions on battery power for flexibility.
  • An optional full body tracking suit is available. It is completely wireless and comes with various sensors with batteries. It is used for total immersion. This suit enables and records real-time body movements. It provides fast and accurate tracking. Each user’s motion tracking data allows post analysis. The company plans to make the wearable technology less visible and lightweight. Also, the platform allows large numbers of people to share the same virtual experience.

The main software is the Modal VR Command Center application. This provides owners with the ability to purchase, download, and install applications. The Command Center is a simple interface for configuring and launching applications. It manages the settings for the system.

Benefits for the Workplace

Virtual reality is one of the latest technologies that businesses are using as a tool to achieve brand awareness and objectives. VR is being currently used as a strategy to:

  • Demonstrate the features and functions of a product.
  • Clearly communicate the brand’s mission.
  • Immerse users in a branded entertainment experience.
  • Add excitement at pop-up events for social media sharing.
  • Help consumers make more informed choices to increase customer satisfaction.
  • Show how a brand fits into a lifestyle.

Modal VR in the workplace can be very beneficial. It is capable of performing all of the above actions and has specific applications that present heightened experiences. It presents new ways to learn, create, visualize, and collaborate with colleagues for problem analysis. Modal takes VR to a different and higher level of immersion

How Modal VR Benefits the Following Industries:

Modal VR provides new opportunities for businesses. Using the apps gives industries an advantage over the competition. Modal helps with better product development, and more intelligent decisions.

  • Real Estate.

There is software that allows for immersed virtual visits and pre-visualization. Selling tools are included.

  • Marketing.

This technology provides deep immersion experiences with brands.

  • Entertainment.

There is an abundance of advanced technology in the entertainment industry. VR enhances experiences in arcades and theme parks.

  • Education.

Virtual reality enhances learning by allowing students to experience actual historical events. Students gain first-hand knowledge of ancient civilizations. Students are able to take virtual field trips to strengthen their knowledge.

  • First Responders.

Police, fire, and rescue departments can use Modal VR for training and drill simulations. This helps with response planning.

  • Sports.

Simulators provide opportunities for gameplay practice and analysis. The players’ movements are capable of being analyzed by Interactive Motion.

  • Military and Space.

These industries can use VR for training and operations design. PTSD prevention is another benefit.


Modal intends to make money from the sale of its hardware. Also, the company plans to take a portion of money from the apps that developers design for the system. The company is actually taking applications for developers of industry specific apps.

Many advances in technology exist since our introduction to the Atari Gaming System by Bushnell. We still remember the mesmerizing effect of just a white shape on a black screen. Now, Bushnell once again launches an advanced Virtual Reality platform that may revolutionize the business world.

*Just a Note of Interest: Steve Jobs worked with Nolan. Nolan is the founder of Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza-Time Theaters chain.

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