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Cleanbox CEO Amy Hedrick Is Saving the AR & VR World One Headset at a Time Through Virus-Fighting Tech « Next Reality

9 min read

The process of trying out new augmented reality and virtual reality hardware is as personal as it gets. Bottom line, if you can’t directly try these immersive devices on, it’s difficult to really understand the benefits they can bring to your life and work.

That’s why the Covid-19 pandemic has presented a particularly tricky challenge to the many AR/VR hardware makers around the world looking to mainstream their products in a new world in which nearly everyone has, understandably, become a bit of germaphobe.

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Meeting that challenge head-on is Cleanbox, a Nashville-based startup led by co-founder and CEO Amy Hedrick (a new member of the NR30). If you’re wondering how the AR and VR industry intends on recovering from a year of not having public events and retail spaces to offer hardware demos, Cleanbox is one of the primary answers to any questions you might have in terms of safely engaging newly wary consumers in a mask-laden landscape that will take some time to return to “normal.”

Adario Strange: I was really excited to profile you in our annual NR30 because what you’re doing with Cleanbox is very unique to the new challenges inherent in the current pandemic. And I’m not ashamed to admit this publicly, but as a germaphobe, and specifically, as a journalist germaphobe, going to all the various conferences, whether it’s CES, or AWE in Santa Clara, wherever I go, I’m always freaking out a little bit about trying on publicly used VR headsets and AR headsets. Because even if they’re wiped down in between uses, the human face collects a lot of oil and bacteria, and dirt. So when I found out about your company, I was really excited. I’m pretty sure you started the company before all this pandemic madness we’ve been experiencing for the past year, so can you give me the brief story of how you got started?

Amy Hedrick: We started about six years ago, believing in the immersive technology industry and having a vision for how we could really impact not just entertainment experiences, but really education and engagement, and remote training and so many business applications. And when we looked at that, we thought about people sharing hardware that sits on your face and head that is very sensitive in terms of electronics and how it’s built. There was a problem that we saw as a barrier to entry. And what we wanted to do was address the risk mitigation point of it, and do it in a way that was safe, that was easy, and that was consistent and reliable.

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