Harvard & MIT: Reality Virtually Hackathon
Application Deadline: September 24, 2017
The Reality Virtually Hackathon sponsored by the MIT Media Lab seeks a deeper understanding of how AR and VR technologies can be applied. It is a non-commercial, non-profit and open event that will introduce a large field of participants selected by application to new people and new ideas to stimulate original and creative work. The Media Lab is the perfect place to inspire original work with its beautifully architected open spaces and because it is the leading multidisciplinary teaching and research institution in the world in many computational fields including AR and VR. The hackathon is jointly organized with the MIT student organization VR@MIT and the Harvard student organization Harvard AR/VR Student Alliance. It is sponsored by companies such as Microsoft, HTC, Fox Innovation Lab and AT&T.
The Reality Virtually Hackathon returns for its second year to the inspirational MIT Media Lab Venue, an educational setting that is open and neutral to all participants, sponsors, and stakeholders. The setting is of equal importance to the activity to inspire original and creative work.
The hackathon would better be described as 4-Day learning experience for a one-time purpose-built community in which everyone, participants, workshop leads, mentors and judges will learn new insights into AR and VR technology. More like an AR and VR SXSW than a hackathon with the further goal of creating a diverse community. The Reality Virtually hackathon achieved 35% diversity and this year the goal has been raised to 40%.
Participants will meet new people, be exposed to new ideas to encourage creative and original work. Teams may not register because they leave with the same ideas with which they arrived. Over 350 Participants will be accepted from a field of 2,000 applications based on the merits of their applications, including biographical information, academic experience, essay, GitHub, portfolio and to achieve our diversity goals. Though this presents a challenge to bring this large number of unaffiliated participants to coalesce into teams of 5 or less, a process was designed for the Reality Virtually Hackathon and implemented by a business professor with expertise in team building.
The originality, creativity, and importance of the project submissions are judged based on the demonstration of the code developed at the hackathon. No consideration is given to slides or business plans. Though the members of the winning AR and VR teams had never met one another before arriving at MIT, they stayed together, forming companies and some have been funded.
Record Setting Scale
Though the emphasis of Reality Virtually was placed entirely on original work, last year it set the record for the largest AR and VR hackathon. Approximately 500 people will attend this year’s event. An approximation of the scale of the event.
- 350 participants 50% students and 50% practitioners
- 20 Workshop Leads
- 40 Mentors
- 26 Judges
- 50 volunteers