Located in West Town, Chicago, mHub is a cutting-edge innovation center for physical product development and manufacturing. From product designers to entrepreneurs to engineers, members are able to utilize a vast array of industrial equipment, a network of strategic industry partners, and corporate spaces to get their businesses launched.
It’s so expansive that mHub created a digital twin with Matterport products to showcase the space to prospective members. Whether you live nearby or far away, anyone can explore the center and uncover the diverse offerings and opportunities available via a full virtual tour.
We spoke with Kim Blomquist, director of marketing and communications, to learn how mHub uses Matterport digital twins to share the extent of technology, equipment, and space available to prospective members.
Q: What inspired the 3D capture of this space?
mHUB is the nation’s largest independent innovation center for hardtech and manufacturing. At over 65,000 square feet, the facility boasts 11 labs for prototyping and product development with over $6 million of equipment, a hands-on curriculum, and a network of strategic partners. It’s a playground for engineers and entrepreneurs, and something you really have to “see” to understand.
We launched the virtual tour for people unable to tour in-person: hard tech startups from across the globe interested in our accelerator, industry partners from the Midwest region at large, or even those in our local communities that don’t have easy access to transportation. The virtual tour allows people to experience mHUB as they consider membership, partnership, or program participation.
Q: What are the “must-sees” you want visitors to explore and why?
The first place people should go is the mHUB prototyping lab. They’ll see soldering stations for electronics, CNC mills and lathes, laser cutters, 3D printers, and a full woodshop — to name a few key areas. It’s simply cool. But it’s also extremely valuable to people trying to launch businesses around physical products. Having access to industrial equipment is a huge entry barrier for hard tech startups. Having it all in one place, surrounded by supporting resources, is a dream.
The next “must-see” is mHUB’s event space. It’s where the member happy hours, panel discussions, pitch competitions, and other good stuff happen.
Lastly, there is an annex space in the southeast corner of the building. This space is equipped with a kitchen, conference room, lounge, and workshop. It’s the perfect place for a corporate partner to house an innovation hub — and it’s got a good vibe. People enjoy working there.
Q: What’s the one thing you want visitors to take away after exploring your 3D tour?
We hope that visitors leave the virtual tour with an understanding of the all-encompassing environment of mHUB. Everything is at one’s fingertips to build and launch a hard tech company within a manufacturing region with an active venture capital community.
Q: What are the benefits of Matterport digital twins?
The perspective and representation of a Matterport virtual tour are richer than photography. A 3D virtual tour is even more interactive than a video. It’s an immersive experience with a “choose your own adventure” approach that allows people to explore an environment exactly how they would in person.
Q: Do you have any plans to capture more 3D experiences?
If there is a need in the future — definitely!