MetaVRse takes Dubai: Trip Highlights

Mariya Faryna Metavrse News

In July 2018 MetaVRse CEO Alan Smithson visited Dubai to take part in Dubai’s Museum of the Future Accelerator. This blog post highlights some of the best parts of the Dubai, as explained by Alan.

On Day 1 when we arrived in Dubai on the Sunday, we hosted a Private Dinner at Emirates Grand Hotel for 14 amazing people.  Among the attendees were Ramnik Singh (Columbia University), Tipusultan Guntaguli (Dubai Expo 2020), Mohammed Shakir (Hashtag Studios), Keith Swain, Hussam Raouf (Monthill Partners), Bashar Hamdan.  The evening was an incredible introduction to Dubai with some amazingly passionate and dedicated people.  We talked about the future of education in an exponential growth world and how we can build a new paradigm for education that will better suit a generation growing up with the world’s knowledge in the palm of their hand.

After dinner, we did some XR demos using the Microsoft Hololens and some mobile phone based AR demos we have been working on at Microsoft.

Special thanks to Sky Zhou frm Toronto who made our new Hololens retail demo in record time!


On day 2 we went to the Dubai Mall to check out the world’s largest VR amusement park, VR PARK.  This massive facility has 20+ top tier attractions from Walking Dead to Payday to John Wick. They KEY to all of it is the HTC Vive with a big facade.  Once you are in VR, it doesn’t matter what is around you, but they realized that by using the decor, you can create a sense of excitement long before people even start the game.

We met with Steve Bambury who was gracious enough to show us on a tour of the mall from the VR Park to the aquarium, etc.  Steve works for JESS School in UAE as head of digital education and his passion is on VR/AR education.  I like his mindset and I think Steve would be an excellent asset to UAA.

Alan Smithson & Steve Bambury at VR Park, Dubai

VR Park Facade, Dubai Mall

There are so many interesting experiences in Dubai, for example there was a really great bus tour with 360° videos of different places around the world (NYC, Paris, Dubai, etc).  While simple, the facade was a life size bus you ride. In Dubai it is all about being the first, biggest, best.


Alan driving the VR Bus, a great VR/360° tour of global destinations.

On Day 3, We went to the Emirates Towers, twin buildings in the heart of Dubai where the Prime Minister’s office is.    This is also the home of Dubai Futures, the accelerator programs and 2071 (who’s group is tasked with being the BEST at a number of things by 2071, the 100th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates).

We met with the team from Museum of the Future and the other participants.  Out of 184 applications, MetaVRse was chosen as one of only 15 companies to attend the MOTF Accelerator.

Tom Kasanda (Ontario Science Centre) and Alan Smithson (MetaVRse) in front of the construction site for the Museum of the Future.

That night, we were invited to a traditional dinner at the Dubai Cultural Centre for Cultural Understanding.  It was a beautiful meal filled with great learnings about Muslim culture and great friendships.

One of the companies involved in the Museum of the Future (MOTF) accelerator is Holotronica, a holographic design company that has worked with amazing companies and artists to create 3D holograms using projection on film.  Here you can see me behind their ‘Hologauze’ projection surface. Quite the ingenious product!

On Wednesday we visited the Expo 2020 site to learn more about their VR strategy and how we might be able to help them build the entire Expo 2020 site in VR.]

Alan overlooking the Expo 2020 planning site.

Then we visited the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa.  Check out the stunning views from 150 stories above the earth!! We even got to try the amazing Mission 828 (for 828m above the earth) made by Inition, another MOTF cohort company.

View from the Burj Khalifa.

The trip was an incredible success and we cannot wait to go back and present our XR Learning Centre concept to the MOTF team.  


Tom and I monkeying around.