Vice Chief is what I always wanted when I worked for megacorps like Apple and Disney.

  • A can-do, risk-first attitude.
  • A lean, mean machine for prototyping – capable tools, always at the ready.
  • A truly tight feedback loop – insight in minutes, hours, and days.

A decade of working in special projects groups, R&D labs, and moonshots taught me the value of prototyping quickly, early, and often. I’ve seen arguments and requirements evaporate in front of a simple physical model. I’ve seen nonbelievers get the faith; I’ve seen elegant ideas reduced to rubble. I’ve seen a power switch relocated 5mm to the left. Prototyping is one of the fastest ways to learn what the hard problems really are.

It’s likely your employees are overburdened. Their time is too valuable and their talent too specific to have them hot-gluing together the latest fragile and unproven idea. Ask me how I know! But you also need to be exploring far and wide. Rather than setting up your own lab – with the enormous overhead and safety burden – you can use ours, and we’ll take the risks for you.

The bigger the company, the more they value specialization. Vice Chief is a very unusual kind of specialization. We specialize in going very, very wide. You can talk to us about mechanical engineering, optics, human vision, game design, rendering, displays and display interfaces, driving simulators, VR, AR, adhesives, coatings, and Art. Just to name a few. We apply a decade’s worth of know-of and know-how to your fledgling project.

We’re thrilled by the challenge of each new idea, and by the first articles that help you flesh it out. Bring us your special projects and your crazy ideas.

Daniel Reetz is a book lover, hacker, and fast prototyper. He is the founder of Vice Chief, previously He ran that project from 2009 until he retired in 2015. He spends his waking life making art, hacking cameras and displays, and developing optical systems. Since 2003 he’s worked in R&D as an artist/engineer/researcher in industry and on NIH, NSF, and US D.o.Ed funded projects.