VR Hackathon NYC - Awards July 2015

Winning team: Three Sisters. Project: Drone Operator. Anthony Marefat, Sam Snider-Held, Harry Thompson.

Description: A meta-narrative of someone (drone operator) doing the job.

Winning team: Subhuman. Project: "1,111 Days." Rehmat Qadir, Sisa Bueno, Andrew Kim.

Description: A tragic story of imprisonment in the notorious New York City Riker's Island jail, which follows an innocent black teenager lost in the system who is ultimately scarred mentally and robbed of his life. Inspiration: 1,111 Days is a VR documentary tracing the tragic story of Kalief Browder, a teenager from the Bronx imprisoned in Riker's Island for three years without trial from 2010 - 2013, and the subsequent events leading to his death by suicide at the age of 22. How it works: The project was built using Unity 5.1 and the Google Cardboard SDK. Some of the scenery was built using Matlab and C++ code from academic papers on computer vision. This trick was used to reconstruct 3D environments from individual 2D still images to wander around and interact with in VR. It's one of our secrets that neither the VR nor the game industry seems to have caught on to, but very appropriate given the scarcity of visual material relevant to the story and the obvious logistical difficulties that would naturally arise trying to film inside Riker's Island and other venues. For more information, visit 1,111 Days on Challengepost.

Winning team: Hackmanhattan. Project: "Trust Fall." John Lee, Mykayla Fernandez.

Description: A co-op trust-based virtual reality game challenging the way people communicate in order to achieve a common goal. One player sees a bird’s eye view of the entire map in 2D on a tablet. The other player wears the VR headset and navigates the world. The narrative of this game is found within the communication between the two players. As players describe this unfamiliar world to each other, we can see how each player is perceiving the environment. They learn how to use each other’s eyes in order to clear the obstacles while avoiding the danger of falling. For an in-depth description, visit Trust Fall on Challengepost.

Winning team: VR Andalou. Project: "un VR Andalou." Winslow Porter, David Lobser, Harold.

Description: “Un VR Andalou" places the viewer in the role of the heroine in the opening scenes of the infamous Dali/Bunuel film, "Un Chien Andalou". The scene is of course famously focused on "slicin' up eyeballs" (as the Pixies would later sing) and to accentuate this the viewer is actually sitting inside a giant eyeball. As the lashed lids blink, so does the scene change, advancing the plot to its inevitable and horrifying conclusion. The opening scene of the original was meant to prepare the viewer for what was to follow: a shocking series of events meant to challenge bourgeoise conceptions of rationality. In the same way, the vision we present in "Un VR Andalou" builds to a moment of terror meant to shake the viewer's preconceptions of what is possible in virtual reality and rally them to produce content that unleashes the forces of their subconscious.

Winning team: Virtual Space. Project: "Island Music." Guilherme Pena Costa, Avery Leider, Zeev Kirsh, Luna, Dhruvil Gandhi, Syed Adil Hasan, Taranjyot Singh Multani.

Description: You are the conductor of voices that you balance with Leap Motion and Oculus Rift to reach increasing levels of joy and harmony. Avoid and resolve discord on an island of sounds. See: Pace team takes home the prize at VR Hackathon. Excerpt: "The team decided to create a kind of virtual island that would incorporate musical features, which users could alter according to their own liking using their movements. The island played four different kinds of music in each corner, and users navigated the island using the Oculus Rift. Depending on how they moved, the music would change in volume, intensity or balance. Users could move around the island to figure out which kind of music they most wanted to hear. The team had originally planned to make movement possible through Dhruvil’s Leap Motion, but faced a big challenge in getting the software and hardware to interact seamlessly. Eventually, they had to cut out the Leap Motion and focus just on using the Oculus Rift and game controllers for movement."




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