TAMPA – The transformation of the 100-acre, University Mall site into Rithm At Uptown shifted into high gear during the past year with the opening of the USF Institute of Applied Engineering and Diamond View Studio’s Vū extended reality production facility. Both will be highlighted at the Tampa Innovation Partnership’s (!p) State of Uptown on May 20th at 9:00 a.m. The event will be hosted at the Vū Studio and streamed on-line through Tampa !p’s Facebook page.

“The Institute of Applied Engineering and Vū Studio are pushing the envelope and breaking new ground in engineering and digital production,” said Chris Bowen, the Chief Development Strategist overseeing the Rithm development for RD Management. “They are perfect examples of the essence of Rithm, which is designed to connect innovators from the arts & sciences together with the people of their community to experience a diversity of perspectives, explore new pathways, and develop extraordinary opportunities for common good.”

University of South Florida College of Engineering Dean, Robert Bishop, will keynote the State of Uptown by introducing the Institute of Applied Engineering, a start-up non-profit dedicated to seeking solutions to the security and economic challenges facing the nation. With additional support from RD Management, LLC and Hillsborough County, the IAE has moved into a 4,000 square foot space on the second floor of Rithm At Uptown and has hit the ground running with an $85 million contract from U.S. Special Operations Command in February of 2020.

“The Institute of Applied Engineering is working to address the most significant challenges facing our country and we are able to respond with greater speed than basic university research,” said Bishop. “We’re very excited about our location in Rithm At Uptown alongside innovators like Vū and look forward to welcoming new neighbors that will bring even more creative energy to Uptown’s innovation ecosystem.”

Diamond View Studio’s phase one, 35,000 square foot Vū XR production complex provides a 10,000 square foot, state-of-the-art visual stage for the event utilizing it’s 100’ x 18’ curved LED wall equipped with the most advanced motion capture technology in the industry. Vū is ranked as one of the top 5 XR studio production complexes in the world!  In just over four months since starting operations, Vū has been used by brands including Mercedes, Disney, and Apple. Enrique Iglesias has shot a video in the facility and the Twenty One Pilots’ video for the “Shy Away”  single shot at Vū  has 28 million views on Youtube in its first month since posting.

Diamond View CEO, Tim Moore, will give the small group of in-person attendees and on-line viewers a brief overview of the technology and how his company implemented it so quickly and successfully.

For the Tampa Innovation Partnership’s Executive Director, Mark Sharpe, this year’s State of Uptown shows that Uptown’s potential is being fulfilled.

“What we are seeing now at Rithm At Uptown with the Institute of Applied Engineering and Vū Studio is the tipping point. This is where the innovation and research that’s been going on at USF, Moffitt Cancer Center and the other research powerhouses in Uptown spill over into the surrounding communities and mix with the creative energy in the area to take things to the next level for this innovation district,” said Sharpe.

Meanwhile, preparations for Tampa Innovation Partnership’s next major event, the Innovation Gathering, are already well under way. The Gathering is set for October 28th and features Margaret O’Mara, University of Washington Professor of History and author of “The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America” as keynote speaker.