Reality, Virtually, Hackathon. Largest ever VR hackathon.

'Reality, Virtually sets record for largest AR/VR hackathon'

- Network World, Steven Max Patterson


Last weekend the 'Reality, Virtually, Hackathon' took place at the MIT Medialab. What an experience! People from all around the world, from a wide variety of backgrounds participated in this massive hackathon that has set a record for the largest VR/AR hackathon ever, with more than 350 attendees.

Participants at the registration desk.

Participants at the registration desk.

The event started on Friday with a bunch of workshops that all participants could attend. Introduction to Unity, Emotion Sensing, Native VR development, Developing for HTC Vive, Daydream or Gear VR are some of the workshops that took place during the event.

After the workshops, the keynotes started with some big names talking about VR, AR and MR to kick off the hackathon. Some important facts and quotes mentioned during the keynotes:

  • 'Computer programming languages should fit our brain... not the other way around'
  • 'Demographics are 89% male for video game characters'
  • 'Then something magical happened [in VR}: people started thinking about human computer interaction'


Keynote by Kipp Bradford.

Keynote by Kipp Bradford.

At the end of the keynotes, the categories for the hackathon where announced:

  • Human wellbeing
  • Entertainment & storytelling
  • Commerce & industry
  • Human connection

And the team formation process started! Teams started gathering around and signing in with their ideas. There were exactly 74 submissions from 74 different teams of 3-5 people each. Check them out at devpost!

After 2 intensive days of brainstorming, coding, designing and bringing to live almost a hundred of brilliant ideas, the finalist could demo their work at the MIT Medialab in an open exhibition. Mentors, judges and sponsors could try out their creations.

Finally, the winners were announced. The best VR application prize was for KidCity VR by Anish Dhesikan, Jacqueline Assar, Theji Jayaratne, Emily Pascual and Kachina Stude. The team built an HTC Vive application for parents and kids to play together. The prize consisted of $5,000 from Samsung's Global Innovation Center.

The best AR application prize was for Waypoint RX by Umar Arshad, Sara Remsen, Paul Katsen, Varun Man and Jan-Erik Steel. They built a Microsoft Hololens augmented reality application to reduce prescription errors in pharmacies. They won $5,000 from AT&T.

Check out some of the best moments of the hackathon captured by John Werner during the event.

Judith Amores, Co-President & Anna Fuste, VP Marketing VR@MIT