Realityworks, Inc.; the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences; and Innovative Design Labs announces $1.7M Phase I/II SBIR Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Eau Claire, Wis. (November 15th, 2018) – Realityworks, Inc., announces the receipt of a Fast-Track Small Business Innovation (SBIR) award in collaboration with the University of Minnesota and Innovative Design Labs Inc. (IDL). This science education research’s objective is to develop new interactive digital media resources that will advance our understanding of how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-based edutainment (educational entertainment) can improve student learning and affect career choices in biological, health and medical fields.

The proposed project aims to combine and leverage the advantages of existing medical models with recent advances in mixed reality technology to provide engaging and cooperative group STEM learning experiences. The Fast-Track SBIR award will support a detailed development program including product design, validation and manufacture. Educational curriculum design for the new learning tool will be led by Dr. Murray Jensen Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences. Results from classroom demonstrations of the technology across multiple K-12 schools and feedback on its use will be evaluated throughout the multiyear project.

“Realityworks is continuously focused on the development of new hands-on learning tools to help our educators engage youth in viable career opportunities, especially in those career disciplines that are or will be plagued by a skills gap or future workforce shortage,” said Timm Boettcher, Realityworks President & CEO. “The vision here is to use mixed reality technologies, like this one, to create interactive classroom learning environments that transform today’s basic learning aides into interactive media-based teaching tools. This technology applied to existing learning tools can not only help engage the student in the educational content but also help the teacher assess a student’s knowledge and skill attainment; quite simply, we see the use of this technology as a potential game-changer for our educators.”

IDL’s President, John Condon, noted, “Healthcare is projected to be among the fastest-growing industries in the economy. These jobs require at least some level of medical and/or STEM education. However, there are very real concerns that the United States does not and will not have the workforce it needs to meet this demand. Broad agreement exists in the field of science education that more engaging pedagogies benefit students, which this development effort aims to do.”

Mr. Adam Becker, VP of IDL and the grant’s Principal Investigator, said, “We are delighted to have received this grant from the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA)-related SBIR/STTR program at NIGMS. We’ve assembled a strong team of experts comprised of educators, engineers, researchers and industry experts that are enthusiastic about the enhanced learning capabilities that mixed reality technology can bring to the classroom.”

About Realityworks, Inc.

Established over 20 years ago, Realityworks, Inc. is dedicated to creating experiential learning tools that engage students, help educators teach needed skills and provide career exploration opportunities. Realityworks comprehensive learning solutions combine curriculum with hands-on learning tools, student activities and assessments to create innovative classroom-based learning environments that make a difference. These solutions are used in middle, secondary and post-secondary schools to address a variety of Career & Technical Education pathways, including health & human services, health sciences, welding and trade skills, agriculture education, sex education and more. With simulators in more than 70 percent of U.S. school districts and programs in more than 90 countries around the world, Realityworks has made a worldwide impact on the lives of youth all over the world. For more information, visit, or call toll-free 800-830-1416.

About Innovative Design Labs, Inc.

Innovative Design Labs is a research and development business based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was founded in 2010 with the goal of creating affordable and effective products to improve people’s lives. IDL specializes in developing technology from initial concept to manufacturing for medical, consumer and industrial markets. Our projects involve cross-institutional teams that combine talent and expertise from leading hospitals, rehabilitation centers, academic institutions and industry partners. For more information, visit, or call 612-567-8554.

Media contact:

Emily Kuhn
Communications Specialist for Realityworks, Inc.
715-858-7193 or