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Aquent | DEV6

The 2019 Oculus Hackathon

Written by: Marcel Van Beilen

On Saturday, April 6, 2019, Aquent DEV6 and Facebook Developer Circles hosted an Oculus Go Hackathon at Lighthouse Labs in Toronto. The purpose of the event was to create an opportunity for developers and designers to have fun not only building a VR application, but also valuable personal and professional connections. In alignment with the purpose, the challenge was to create an immersive VR experience using the Oculus Go based on the theme of “Community”. The theme was intentionally left open-ended to avoid restricting any creativity. So long as the hackers could justify its relationship to community, any VR experience was fair game.

Hasan Ahmad introducing the 2019 Facebook Developer Circle Hackathon
2019 Toronto Facebook Developer Circles Hackathon

The day kicked off with team building. In total, 9 teams composed of 1 to 5 members were formed. After the opening remarks, each team was given an Oculus Go headset and about 8 hours to turn their idea into a (virtual) reality. The ideas were as follows:

  • Mars builder – Building a city on Mars
  • Wishplay – 360 accessibility for everyone everywhere
  • Public transport fun awareness
  • Explor – Overcoming distance with immersive 360 experience.
  • Shopping for disability
  • Virtual shark tank
  • Senior virtual community centre 
  • Father son catch
  • Water-cooler meeting

To answer any questions teams had during development or assist them with technical issues, a group of Facebook engineers and experienced VR professionals, coined the “Dev Garage”, were on site for the entire day.

As development progressed, each team periodically showcased their work to a panel of judges made up of leaders from Facebook, Mitel Networks, Art Gate VR, and Aquent DEV6. They were judged on vision (innovation, community problem solving), execution (usability, technical excellence), and design (visual experience, polish, slickness). The final evaluation process scored the teams on the criteria, and the Wishplay team was announced the winner.

What they built was a VR experience using an Android service and A-Frame webVR that could give people with life limiting conditions a virtual community to express themselves without being self-conscious of their physical appearance. The intention of the app was for users to explore 3D environments and chat with other players. As the prize for winning, each team member received their very own Oculus Go headset.

The 2019 Oculus Go Hackathon was a great success and we anticipate organizing more hackathons in the future! If you’d like to get involved our developer community, feel free to join the Developer Circles: Toronto Facebook group here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/DeveloperCirclesToronto/

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