Made in Denver: Reloptix VR Glasses

Editor’s note: Throughout the fall, RED’s Made in Denver series will highlight Mile High Business Owners who graduated from the MSU Denver programs.

At a wedding a few years ago, William Nalker did not return home with the bride, but he met the partner who would change his life.

Nalker, a 2019 industrial design graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver who lives in Frederick, is friends with a group of people he’s been gaming with online for years. One day, one of them asked Nalker to officiate his marriage.

“I thought he was joking at first,” Nalker said. “I said, ‘OK, we’ve known each other online for years, but this is the first time we’ve met. Are you sure?’

The groom was sure, and it turns out he wasn’t the only player at the wedding that Nalker would meet in person for the first time.

He and Jason Salinas, an optician, struck up a conversation that laid the foundation for a friendship and a business partnership that helps people see in the world of virtual reality.

The inserts come in two parts: an adapter that attaches to the helmet and separate magnetic frames that snap onto it. Photo by Alyson McClaran

Nalker and Salinas are the co-founders of Reloptix, which makes prescription lens inserts for VR headsets. If you’ve ever tried to put a helmet on your glasses, you know how inconvenient it can be.

“It’s just hard trying to fit your goggles inside those helmets, and it’s painful,” Nalker said. “People try to stick their glasses in there and end up scratching the lenses of their glasses and the lenses of the helmet, which are irreplaceable. You can’t just take them out. If they’re scratched, you’re screwed.

The inserts come in two parts: an adapter that attaches to the helmet and separate magnetic frames that snap onto it. The lenses, which include a reflective coating, come with a stylish and durable case. The company can even handle prescriptions with high astigmatism.

“I wanted to make glasses for VR headsets – something aesthetic and functional,” Nalker said.

The idea for Reloptix was born just months after Nalker celebrated the wedding where he first met Salinas in person. Nalker had wanted to design goggles and Salinas was interested in making corrective lenses for helmets. Nalker began working on prototypes during his final semester in MSU Denver’s industrial design program.

“We went through probably 60 different iterations, and a lot of it came from learning how to deal with this in school, from the different industrial design courses I took,” he said. “They teach you that the first solution you come up with may not be the perfect solution. I’m still fine-tuning things, even as the product is on the market.

William Nalker in the design lab
“I wanted to make glasses for VR headsets – something aesthetic and functional,” Nalker said. Photo by Alyson McClaran

Nalker described the process early on as “trying.” After college, he worked two jobs, including at Make4Covid, a Colorado-based company that makes personal protective equipment for medical workers, who were in high demand in the early months of the pandemic. On top of that, he was trying to get his business off the ground. Nalker said it was difficult, “but it helped me not to think about what was going on at the time.”


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These days, Nalker says business is good. And the positive reviews on its website bear witness to this.

“It changed the whole (customer) dynamic, which makes me feel good,” he said. “There are people who have literally had to wear glasses all their lives. Every aspect of their life is dictated by whether or not they should keep their glasses on because their vision is so bad. It gives them the opportunity to feel like everyone else.

So the moral of the story might be: Never turn down a wedding invitation.

“And never think your friend is laughing at you when he says you’re having a wedding,” Nalker said with a laugh.

Vic Vela is a news and podcast host for Colorado Public Radio, an affiliate faculty member of MSU Denver’s Department of Journalism and Media Production, a 2000 MSU Denver Voice Communications graduate, and a contributor to ” Here and Now” from NPR and RED from MSU Denver.

Luz W. German