Local Edmonton tech startup vrCAVE is bringing innovation and creativity akin to Silicon Valley right to our own back yards. Founded by University of Alberta graduates Tom Viinikka (BComm, 2004, MBA, 2015), Nathaniel Rossol (BSc, 2007, MSc, 2010, PhD, 2015), and Alexander Rossol (BSc, 2010) after the trio met through the U of A’s eHub program, the company is in the business of developing groundbreaking virtual reality simulations and was recently awarded a TEC Edmonton Venture Prize. After a successful virtual reality haunted house pop-up event, the group recently opened their first VR escape room, Space Station Tiberia, to the public in collaboration with SmartyPantz Escape Rooms. Players must save Earth from a giant meteor by reactivating the booby-trapped space station and using its weapons to destroy the threat. “As far as we know in Canada, there’s nothing like (what vrCAVE is doing),” says Nathaniel Rossol. “And there’s definitely a lot of applications (our technology) could go into.” The group hopes to take its VR technology beyond escape rooms as the company grows. They have their sights set particularly on the entertainment sector: in the future, virtual reality could replace paintball, laser tag, and potentially even movies. Space Station Tiberia at SmartyPantz is currently available for public play and made its debut in Edmonton prior to being brought to the rest of Western Canada.