Seattle VR Hackathon
About 130 virtual reality developers came together for the Seattle VR Hackathon at the Pacific Northwest Center for Construction Research and Education. This is a biannual event which encourages people that love virtual reality to partner to develop VR experiences.
Hackathons enable sponsors and all sorts of businesses that are local to get to meet a variety of people who may one day have a big impact on virtual reality. The hackathon also helps to promote learning, networking and experimenting.
The hackathon goes on for 2 and a half days. A lot of the teams at the hackathon created collaboration tools to enable 360-degree content in social media, virtual music instruments, 3D games and much more.
Tom Furness is Seattle’s “grandfather” of virtual reality. He’s in charge of the University of Washington’s HITLab and also helped judge and coach at the Seattle VR Hackathon.
Furness said, “I’m always humbled to see where people take this technology. We are just at the beginning of figuring out how this is going to improve people’s lives. I’ve already seen VR applied to helping people in assisted living stay better connected to their families, the therapeutic benefits for those suffering from conditions like PTSD, and for anyone who watches football, they’ve seen a television spot on how VR is helping train quarterbacks to better read defenses. It’s a whole new way for people to experience computing and I just think it’s fun.”
Another judge at the hackathon was Nirav Desai. Nirav said, “Seattle is the number two innovation hub in the United States. When you look at patents, venture capital activity and growth, this is a great place to be.” He noted how Seattle, “has one of the most diverse economies.” He mentioned some major businesses such as Boeing and Microsoft among others.
Seattle has a very large gaming development company and highly credited schools such as the University of Washington.
The Seattle VR Hackathon event organizer, Greg Howes, said, “LA will be entertainment, and will lead that (for) gaming, and especially for enterprise, Seattle will be one of the global leaders. Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities. You have higher demand and higher price points. You can experiment more with technology.”
Nirav Desai said, “Enterprise applications, distribution, testing, operating systems and utilities – a lot of that is going to come from the Seattle area.”
Some of the other organizers of the hackathon were Eva Hoerth and Trond Nilsen. They noted that even though just about 15 percent of the people who attended Seattle’s VR Hackathon are women, a lot of the teams who won at the event were made up of women developers.