Teams Work to Build a “Connected Citizen” at VR the People: the Seattle Virtual Reality Hackathon

Teams Work to Build a “Connected Citizen” at VR the People: the Seattle Virtual Reality Hackathon

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Teams Work to Build a “Connected Citizen” at VR the People: the Seattle Virtual Reality Hackathon
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 5:05pm

CONTENT: Multimedia with summary

Virtual Reality (VR)—a computer-simulated, 3-D, artificial world of images and sounds that can be experienced by a user as real—is now most commonly used in gaming applications. But VR and Augmented Reality (AR) technology—also known as “immersive” or “experiential” reality—offer enormous potential for improving our world.

Last month, experts interested in Virtual Reality gathered at VR the People: The 10th Seattle Virtual Reality Hackathon, an event that promised to “transform the future of immersive technologies.” Teams competed to develop innovative hardware and software solutions and explored how experiential reality can be harnessed to help with efforts around disaster relief, in Smart Cities, and in combat.

Participants at Booz Allen’s Innovation Center, located in Washington, DC, joined the VR Hackathon via 360 live video conference to provide input on pitches for using VR in disaster relief scenario challenges. The winning team, DisastARcons, created a Microsoft HoloLens-based solution that allows first responders to triage emergency environments and virtually ‘mark’ the areas that need attention or are a safety risk.

“It’s fascinating to see the solutions teams created to solve disaster scenario problems,” said Matt Meko, a Booz Allen senior associate leading work in Huntsville, Alabama. “Multiple teams offered solutions developed in a short period of time that show great potential for real world applications.”

VR also has broad implications for cities, and the construction industry has been one of the early adopters of VR for real estate marketing and virtual walkthrough of plans in place of scale models. “There is a lot of room to explore the connection between Smart Cities and Smart Construction, and 3D Data stands as the bridge between the two,” said Damon Hernandez, Executive Director of the Nonprofit AEC Hackathon and 3D Lead at IDEAbuilder, during the virtual mentoring portion of the Hackathon.

Virtual Reality technology has clear promise in assisting with military planning & field operations. One team at the event developed a drone that provides a bird’s-eye view of a combat environment. When the drone detects a danger situation, it communicates that information to the person in the field with enough time for the person to respond and move to safety.

Booz Allen Chief Technologist Nirav Desai, who served as a judge at the event, said, “It’s exciting to see how we can harness technology that has been used in the entertainment space and instead use it to benefit our citizenry.”

Want more? Check out this interview of Nirav filmed by CNDYFactory’s Tim Reha at the Seattle Virtual Reality Hackathon: