Tod Lab

TOD Innovation Lab Applications Now Open

Applications are now open for Round #1 of the TOD Innovation Lab, a creative space for supporting and encouraging the development of unique solutions to the visitor experience using the museum as a beta site and through the use of AR/VR technology.

Download the PDF >>  Apply to be a mentor >>  Online application form >> 

We are all creators and we believe that tech solutions for Museums and their visitors can come from anyone, anywhere: creators, designers, developers, makers, scientists, engineers, academics, entrepreneurs, and other innovators with a strong development team and a focus on the widespread adoption and creation of an easy to access use case for users everywhere.

Companies applying to this program should be beyond concept stage and have a good knowledge of development and AR/VR/MR/360 technology. The development within the lab will include access to industry leaders and development and creative professionals who will work with the already well established team to achieve their desired results.

Applying teams will own the Intellectual Property of their submissions. The content given by and belonging to the museum is the sole property of the Tower of David Museum, the Museum of the history of Jerusalem. The Tower of David Museum and the TOD Innovation Lab reserves the right to limit, or restrict upon notice, participation in the ToD Innovation Lab to any person or entity at any time for any reason. Teams may withdraw as set forth in the application agreement.

Teams are invited to use their best available resources to develop a comprehensive plan to enable the piloting, testing and launching of their unique solution or experience within the Tower of David Museum.

Solutions will be evaluated based on their technological advancement, creativity and their potential importance/benefit to museums, cultural centers, archaeological and visitor sites and will address the potential of the museum community to meaningfully engage, enhance and improve the visitor experience. Solutions will be evaluated against their potential exponential impact and scalability that the team submits, the disruptive nature and utility of the proposed solution, and the comprehensiveness of the user engagement.
Startup Application TOD Innovation Lab January 2018


  • TOD Innovation Lab AR/VR/MR Goals and Impact – Addressing their visitor solution and how they intend to solve it. The teams must describe the context of the problem and how solving the problem with visitor experiences in museums is timely and important. The goal will be evaluated by the judging committee to ascertain its importance/benefit to museums and visitor sites and the visitor experience.
  • Proposed Solution – Each plan will include a detailed explanation of the approach the team will use to achieve its proposed goal. Teams may include explanations of technological approaches and development pathways. Solutions that achieve an exponential impact, shift, or scalability will be weighted higher than those that result in a linear increase.
  • Plans must include a detailed explanation of the team’s approach to AR/VR/MR. What functions does the technology perform? What kind of technology/content are they employing? How will they validate and test their technology as well as evaluate success?
  • Evaluation Goals – Teams must propose their own systems for testing and assessing the quality of their AR/VR/MR technologies and advancements. How will the Museum visitors be integrated into the testing and piloting of their solutions?
  • Progress Plan – Competition plans must include the team’s proposed progress plan, showing their expected progress towards their goal.
  • Worldwide collaboration – Teams must explain how their proposed tool works with museums and visitor sites worldwide to achieve the desired results and address the grand challenge.

After submission of online application, if a team is deemed eligible to participate in the program they will be invited to make a live or online presentation before a professional panel.

If accepted, during their tenure in the lab, the team will demonstrate progress towards, and achievement of that plan over the course of up to a 6-month tenancy in the lab, culminating with a large presentation and showcase of their company and pilot to the public and tech ecosystem at the end of the program.

TOD Innovation Lab and the Tower of David Museum will solicit expert reviewers from the professional Museum & VizTech local and international community to discuss the application summaries in detail with the teams and with the TOD Innovation Lab advisors.

The TOD Innovation Lab is open to all applicants who are focused on providing an AR/VR solution
that will engage, enhance and improve the visitor experience using the museum and its content as a pilot site and allowing for the scaling up and duplication of this solution to other museums and visitor centers worldwide by offering exposure to resources, mentors, industry leaders and investors. These developments can be off the shelf or personalized.

Archaeological sites and visitor centers must have special consideration for their visitors with special needs and we at the Tower of David are committed to creating an inclusive experience for our visitors considering the limitations that a preserved heritage site can present. It is because of our focus on inclusion and accessibility that we will be giving special consideration to companies providing AR/VR tech solutions for accessibility and inclusion in museums, cultural and heritage sites.

Rather than set a single, universal goal for all teams, this competition will invite teams specializing in hardware, software, development platforms, content and distribution in the AR/VR sector, each creating their own goals and an experience for the final event at the end of the round.

As AR/VR/MR is such a rapidly advancing field, substantial innovations are likely to occur during the course of the Innovation Lab round. Two Wild Cards will permit new teams with groundbreaking ideas to enter the lab during one of the existing rounds. Wild Card teams will go through the same registration, expert-sourced support and review, and application process as original entrants on an entrance to a round. Unlike original entrants, however, it is expected that only 2 Wild Card teams per year will be accepted. They must not only show a complete development plan but also show that their plan incorporates radical new advances that were not available at the start of the program.

Teams will be responsible for funding their own technology development costs. All of the equipment and space which is the property of the museum shall be treated respectfully and any damage as a result of negligence or inappropriate use by any of the participants in the lab shall be the responsibility of the team to compensate the museum for.

To ensure that the teams are given the relevant resources required for their development and launch, we will provide the following:

TOD Innovation Lab will offer a resource of relevant advisors and mentors for the companies sitting in the lab. These advisors will be available during each round to offer consultation and advice on aspects of design and implementation of the experience.

The TOD innovation lab will offer the opportunity to have access to their device lab and space in the TOD Innovation Lab to work and develop their pilot or experience. The lab will offer storage, servers, headsets, cameras, development kits and development workstations for our participating companies (supplies limited, on a first come basis or as per company request).

The Reception Hall which will house the lab was used by the former “Pasha” or Governor of Jerusalem during the Ottoman Empire, located within the Phasael Tower built by King Herod some 2000 years ago, is being transformed into a work space that will become the center of innovation at the Tower of David Museum where teams can work on their development using the servers, storage and equipment that the lab has to offer. The dynamic space can be adapted to host workshops, meetups and lectures.

The Lab is also unique in its concept. On a daily basis, the Lab will actively be connecting developers, entrepreneurs, start-ups, corporations to the museum/national heritage site world whilst simultaneously offering visitors to the Tower of David Museum the opportunity to experiment with the different projects sponsored by the lab in real time. The ToD Innovation Lab at the Tower of David Museum joins a small but prominent group of world-wide museums leading in innovation.

The Tower of David Museum, with its diverse visitor population of 400,000 visitors per year, makes it a perfect location for testing new technologies developed to enhance a visitor experience be that at a museum, heritage site and/or tourist center. Teams that are developing experiences within the lab will have the opportunity to have access to the world of museum content and to find creative and contemporary ways to bridge the gap between the story of the past and the ultra-modern technological experience.

Over 400,000 visitors from around the world come to the Tower of David each year to enjoy the exhibitions, cultural activities, light and sound show, tours and archaeological sites and soon to be a multi-million-dollar upgrade that will change the face of the entrance to the old city of Jerusalem. The central location at the heart of the downtown core, with access to the light
The TOD innovation lab is an integral part of the Tower of David Museum, the museum of the city of Jerusalem. The lab specializes in the integration, piloting and development of tech solutions which support and enhance the visitor experience. The Citadel is located in the heart of the city of Jerusalem, and is the only innovation space in Israel that boasts a large international visitor base for testing and piloting the development of cultural, educational and tourism experiences via tech solutions. Our lab offers a workspace, equipment and a real time beta site for startups and industry leaders, all supported and contained within the magnificent historical citadel. We at the TOD Innovation Lab believe that today it is technology that is the key to telling the story, with our focus on AR/VR development to engage, educate and impact visitors worldwide. The TOD Innovation Lab is supported by the Jerusalem Development Authority and offers collaboration and sponsorship opportunities for corporate, municipal, academic and philanthropic institutions and organizations.
The TOD Innovation lab will be a creative space for supporting and encouraging the development of unique solutions to the visitor experience using the museum as a beta site and AR/VR technology.
rail system and with its diverse visitor and customer base attracts international delegations, press coverage, VIP visitors, a diverse user base, municipal leaders and multi-cultural events all eager to test out and experience the development and unique culture of the Innovation Lab. Our companies will have first access to these unique networking opportunities.

The TOD Innovation Lab round 1 will take place over the course of up to 6 months ending at the end of the term period. Six months after the opening of the round, teams will submit a report and testing results. They will have a chance to pilot and launch their development in the ToD Innovation Lab Round 1 product event being held at the end of round 1.

Teams showing high performance and development will be invited to participate in high profile events and to showcase their teams before international delegations and corporate visitors.

The TOD Innovation Lab encourages the development of a supportive and useful network and community among our mentors, corporate, startups creators and teams. Our community will continue to grow and throughout the round there will be many opportunities for networking, engagement and partnership.

Download the PDF >>   Apply to be a mentor >>   Online application form >>