DLE member Tom Buchanan’s story is one of entrepreneurial spirit and one for the growing world of virtual reality. A 2015 grad of Syracuse University and the DLE Retreat, Tom co-founded Contact CI, a company specializing in haptic gloves for virtual reality equipment. The company’s success at entrepreneurship competitions in college helped him and his team continue to develop the company following graduation, with $13,400 in competition funding.
Tom credits the DLE with helping him fire up the networking skills essential for being an entrepreneur. He reflects, “The DLE helped me gain a ton of confidence and helped my ambition grow.” During his time with the DLE, Tom has served in a variety of roles, including speaker, event planner and member of the Business Development Committee.
Tom and his company have come a long way. Based in Cincinnati, Contact CI’s haptic technology has forged a strong partnership with the U.S. military. Hands-on usage of their haptic gloves allows for training without any of the actual risk normally involved.
Another customer base is the medical arena. Haptic gloves can be used to simulate surgery, allowing for surgeons to get training in real-time without any risk to patients.
Contact CI aims for the haptic gloves to be used for greater applications outside of the military and medical settings. Tom, who serves as Chief Product Officer, forecasts, “Our long-term goal is to continue working with the government to scale our products as they get smaller and cheaper so we can train more service members. Through the development of IP (intellectual property) during this time, we eventually plan to license our technology in order to reach more customers as well.”
And who knows? Perhaps in the distant future, when virtual reality headsets are as common as computers, haptic gloves like the ones produced by Contact CI could be present in the same way the mouse and computer are. The DLE cheers on Tom and his team in the ever-expanding world of virtual reality!