Inventor and Entrepreneur

Kyle Leinart

from Briceville, Tennessee



“Never forget where you came from,
but go as far as an education will take you.”
Ricky Bailey, Coal Creek Scholar

Coal Creek Scholar Kyle Leinart modeling his patented invention,
a portable virtual reality headset with One-Touch Navigation™
on Knoxville’s WVLT Channel 8 News

We met Kyle Leinart when he entered our Dream Contest as a first grader at Briceville School in 2000.  (See his entry below) He then participated in every program offered by the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, for which he received our 2011 Nantglo Scholarship.  

While attending UT’s College of Engineering, Kyle developed virtual reality hardware and software for navigation of 3D models.  When his professor, Dr. Lee Martin, saw it, he said, “I’ve never seen anything like this—let’s get it patented.” 

Kyle and Jesse gave a demonstration of their product to the engineering
staff at Schnabel Engineering, LLC in its Knoxville office

Thus, the company ImmersaCAD was born.  Kyle, Dr. Martin, and three former UT classmates co-founded the company to adapt the virtual reality equipment for use in architecture and engineering applications.  Rather than review a set of drawings, the ImmersaCAD virtual reality device enables you to walk through and around the planned structure.  You can even walk through walls of the structure.  Potential applications include buildings, subways, tunnels, mines, highways, dams, railroads, bridges—anything that can be converted to 3D in a digital format. 

Pilots train on simulators, so why not equipment operators working in a mine or in constructing a structure?  Now they can with ImmersaCAD.  The technology was unveiled on Knoxville’s WVLT Channel 8 News at

Here’s Kyle’s explanation for how his invention went from conception to the market place. I am the co-founder and systems/software developer at ImmersaCAD, which started from a visualization project I worked on for class.  I used Dr. H. Lee Martin's idea of loading multiple 3D models into a scene for a user to explore and then invented the One-Touch Navigation™ approach. We then started developing the automation for file conversion and soon found out that we had a company.

ImmersaCAD differs from other products because of two key elements. First, other companies approach model navigation by using a joystick or controller. This causes video game motion sickness and gives an uncomfortable experience to many users. ImmersaCAD uses One-Touch Navigation™, which allows a person to navigate an environment using only the touch of their finger, eliminating motion sickness. Second, converting a specific file to one that is VR-friendly is a convoluted and time-consuming process. For a variety of major file formats that architects, interior designers, engineers, and 3D printers use, we have completely automated the file conversion process so that a user can see their model in virtual reality in just a couple of clicks from your computer screen.  With a bit of polish, we are planning to sell this product by late summer of 2016.”

Kyle and ImmersaCAD co-founder Jesse McCrary demonstrated the device to our staff at Schnabel Engineering in Knoxville.  Kyle is adapting a 3D digital drawing of a roadway we designed to enable it to be viewed using the virtual reality device.  Imagine allowing citizens at a public hearing the opportunity to view the completed roadway via a virtual reality device before it is built.    

Kyle’s situation brings to mind the message from a previous Coal Creek Scholars Day event when Briceville 4th and 5th graders were told, “Never forget where you came from, but go as far as an education will take you.”

Jesse McCrary and Kyle Leinart
Two of the business partners in this exciting new product


Carol Moore, Kyle Leinart and Barry Thacker, PE
Kyle was the 2011 Recipient of our Coal Creek Scholarship


We are so excited to have
another successful
Coal Creek Scholar!!

For more information on
our scholarships, visit
our Scholars Page.



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