One of the best parts about working on the New Ventures team is that I get to interact with developers from around the world. We rely on this developer community to both come-up with augmented reality applications, and to port them to our Moverio BT-200 smart glasses. One of the coolest places to watch developers bring their ideas to life is at a hackathon.
We sponsored our first hackathon last summer at our corporate headquarters and have been looking for the right opportunity to hold another event. We did by hosting our second hackathon, May 26th-27th, at the Augmented World Expo (AWE 2014) in Santa Clara, Calif.
More than 80 developers gathered for the 36-hour, two-day event. With a prestigious Auggie Award and more than $24,000 in prizes on the line, several teams worked through the night to build working demos in such a short amount of time.
So what did the teams come up with? Here are a few examples:
- a 3D augmented reality game based on a famous episode from “Star Trek: Next Generation”
- augmented reality furniture-viewing in real space
- a “work anywhere” workspace using the Moverio smart glasses with a chording keyboard
- and an AR “tour guide”
The teams presented their concept demos to a judging panel of AR industry leaders and the assembled audience. The winning team, HUDHowTo, created a DIY augmented reality ‘How To’ tutorials.
I spoke with team member Tim Hayes to get his insights on the winning app. Here’s what he told me:
After deciding that the original idea wasn’t really going to work, we all quickly pivoted into brainstorming mode and landed on the HUDHowTo application. The app allows the user to play a how-to video that has been segmented into individual steps. After each step, users have the option to continue to the next if they are ready, replay the last step if they need to review it, or call an expert.
The big value-add for business is that when the user calls for help, the customer support representative also receives the exact point the user is in the procedure. This means they no longer need to ask introductory questions to ensure the user has successfully completed the initial steps. This could greatly reduce call times. Future versions of the app could also allow the service representative to see what the user is looking at via a streamed live camera feed, giving them further context and allowing them to provide more accurate assistance in even less time.
Tim also loved hacking Moverio, telling me:
The Moverio smart glasses were incredibly easy to work with. Any Android developer should have no trouble getting applications up and running on these devices. The touch pad allows for user interaction nearly equivalent to a mouse or touch screen, which makes it perfect for getting prototypes out very quickly as you don’t need to support gesture-based input from the start. Obviously, this is perfect for a hackathon scenario.
It was clear that everyone was excited to be hacking on some of the most advanced technology on the market — I was no exception.
Thanks to Tim, AWE, and everyone who came out to participate in the hackathon. Now, when will our next one be?