Reality Virtually Sponsored by SpaceoutVR Sets Record For Largest VR/AR Hackathon
During October 7-10, 2016 MIT Media Lab presented a unique hackathon event in Cambridge, Ma. In addition to Spaceout.VR, the hackathon featured a variety of other technology partners including, AT&T, Sony PlayStation, Samsung, Unity and other innovators in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.
This hackathon held on the MIT campus was called “Reality Virtually” because it focused around applications built for vertical market segments. More than 400 participants, workshop speakers, judges and sponsors convened at the Reality, Virtually AR/VR hackathon sponsored by the MIT Media Lab last weekend, setting a hackathon record with 75 open-source project submissions.
This was a massive effort, professionally executed for such a juxtaposition of talent. I see a lot of ourselves in all of those people the way things started for us a year an a half ago as VRentrepreneurs. From a business perspective, the volume of intellectual property developed in those 3 days is probably more than all of what was created in web 1.0 says our (Spaceout.VR, Inc) COO Dennis Adamo.
The winners of Reality Virtually KidCity VR, created by Anish Dhesikan, Jacqueline Assar, Theji Jayaratne, Emily Pascual and Kachina Stude, made an HTC Vive educational application for children and parents, allowing them to play together in Virtual Reality, together from anywhere in the world.. Parents can even purchase gifts for their child inside the app allowing them to unlock new puzzles. The team won $5,000 from Samsung’s Global Innovation Center for the best VR application.
Another winner, Waypoint RX, built by UmarArshad, Sara Remsen, Paul Katsen, Varun Man and Jan-Erik Steel, is a Microsoft Hololens Augmented Reality application designed to help pharmacists reduce prescription errors by checking the medications selected against the prescription. The team won $5,000 from AT&T for best AR application.
“The combination of cognitive and spacial computing is amazingly powerful – I was especially excited to see the teams who were experimenting with AI & Machine Learning in conjunction with VR” said Spaceout.VR, Inc. Creative Director and CEO V.Owen Bush “In particular, I was very impressed with a “text to VR experience” for storytellers that implements machine learning in a really creative way”.
“MIT’s Media Lab provided an amazing template for how a hackathon is run. The excitement was tangible in the air with hundreds of developers from all over the world. I was especially thrilled to see new applications for tools we don not have in our studio like Microsoft Hololens & Google Tango,” said Bush.
The idea for Reality Virtually iterated and improved with an AR, then VR, hackathon organized by the Google Developer Group in Boston. When they approached Scott Greenwald, a Ph.D. candidate at the MIT Media Lab, Greenwald loved the idea. Soon after, Greenwald had MIT Media Lab’s approval to make the Lab the venue for the hackathon. Interestingly, the Media Lab had a condition that all hackathon projects would be under open-source license to stimulate open innovation in the AR and VR community. Fun fact: Media Lab Director Joi Ito is co-author of the Creative Commons license.