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VR Hackathon NY

In partnership with NYC Media Lab, NYVR and Littlstar and hosted by ITP/NYU, the hackathon launched in July 2015.

Speakers  |  Judges  |  Partners  |  Mentors  |  Team

In partnership with NYVRNYC Media LabLittlstar and Samsung Studio, LoNyLa (London-NY-LA)/TimeWave launched VR Hackathon NY on July 10-12, 2015.

Hosted by the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University, the hackathon took place at the NYU Tisch building at 721 Broadway, NYC 10003.

Sponsors included: EEVOFake LoveFreedom 360Leap MotionLittlstarOculusUnity 3D and VISR.

The VR Hackathon provided a lab environment for the experimentation and innovation of virtual reality – experiences, storytelling and games.

The intense two-day format enabled people with diverse skillsets to come together, conjure up and prototype concepts for virtual reality and other immersive technologies. Participants tested projects on the Littlstar VR platform during the course of the hackathon.

The July 10th Mega Meet-Up (Friday) featured the following speakers:

  • Ken Perlin, founder of the NYU Media Research Lab and professor of Computer Science at NYU, and artist, animator and creative coder David Lobser launched with a presentation on shared VR space.
  • The Littlstar development team addressed VR distribution as well as how to develop, upload and stream VR on the Littlstar platform.
  • Tom Harding, Director of Immersive Products & Virtual Reality at Samsung
  • Joergen Geerds, CEO / Creative Director of Freedom 360

Hosted by the Samsung Studio in Soho, the Mega Meet-Up took place from 6pm to 8pm at 130 Prince Street, NY 10012.

On Friday July 10, Freedom 360 conducted a workshop, introducing hackers to live action VR. They covered the basics of hardware and software – the do’s and the don’ts in live action VR. Q & A followed.

Awards were given to outstanding Projects as judged by seasoned professionals in media, entertainment and immersive technology.

Check out the Littlstar channel for VR Hackathon NY

Follow LoNyLa-TimeWave’s board VR Hackathon NY on Pinterest.

Theme: Mythos & Moxie

While technology evolves at an accelerated rate, the fundamental tenets of story (Greek: “mythos”) remain the same. Story transcends technology and strikes the human heart. It allows us to glimpse universal truths as well as leads us to self discovery. It triggers our imagination and invites us into rich storyworlds – deep space, the earth’s core or leagues under the sea – that can exist only in our minds.

In the 2015 VR Hackathon, we encouraged participants to probe VR with an eye on storytelling. Whether it’s a scene from a storyworld or a quirky character, we hoped to see VR content that pushed beyond shoot-em-ups and took users/audiences on an emotional journey.

We also supported media creators with moxie – courage. Try things that had not been tried. In every project that didn’t quite work, something was gained or learned.

The VR Hackathon operated under the umbrella of Fractured Atlas, a 501(c)(3) public charity. Contributions for the purposes of VR Hackathon were tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. See more.


On July 10, Ken Perlin and David Lobser launched the hackathon at the Friday Mega Meet Up. They addressed research on shared VR space. Following Perlin and Lobser were Tom Harding, Director of Immersive Products and Virtual Reality, Samsung Electronics America, Joergen Geerds, CEO of Freedom 360, and the Littlstar development team.

Ken Perlin

Ken PerlinKen Perlin, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at New York University, directs the NYU Games For Learning Institute, and is a participating faculty member in the NYU Media and Games Network (MAGNET). He was also founding director of the Media Research Laboratory and director of the NYU Center for Advanced Technology. His research interests include graphics, animation, augmented and mixed reality, user interfaces, science education and multimedia. He received an Academy Award for Technical Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his noise and turbulence procedural texturing techniques, which are widely used in feature films and television, as well as the 2008 ACM/SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award, the TrapCode award for achievement in computer graphics research, the NYC Mayor’s award for excellence in Science and Technology and the Sokol award for outstanding Science faculty at NYU, and a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Perlin received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University, and a B.A. in theoretical mathematics from Harvard University.

David Lobser

David LobserDavid Lobser has been working with animation for nearly twenty years. His work is cinematic, being influenced stylistically by David Lynch, Tim Burton and the Brother’s Quay amongst others. David attended the School of Visual Arts and has taught at Parson’s, Harvard, and the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Queretaro, Mexico where he continued to expand on his character design workshop. David graduated from NYU’s ITP program and has starting creating works using code, mostly 3D projects in javascript. His interest in animation comes from a desire to stir emotion and connect with audiences in unique ways. Intense emotions create intense bonds. David Lobser enjoys being part of the aesthetic conversation for the beginning of this century and hopes to inspire others to act on their creative impulses.

Tom Harding

Tom HardingTom Harding serves as Director of Immersive Products & Virtual Reality at Samsung Electronics America, helping drive Samsung’s Virtual Reality product development throughout the United States. Prior to joining Samsung, Tom held several roles in Media & Marketing industries, most recently heading up Sports Products at Thomson Reuters in New York. Tom holds a B.Sc in Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence from The University of Edinburgh, UK.

Joergen Geerds

Joergen GeerdsJoergen Geerds is CEO / Creative Director of Freedom 360. Joergen brings a master vision to each 360 endeavor – ensuring the highest levels of creative integrity. As the original inventor of the modern, fully spherical video medium, he has been pushing the language of VR filmmaking by tirelessly finding artistic compositions and dynamic angles. His contribution helps deliver exciting and memorable VR projects to our clients.

Littlstar Development Team
Littlstar's Dominic

Dominic Giglio, Wells Johnston, Joseph Werle


Chaki Ng

Chaki NgChaki Ng is passionate in novel ways to connect users and contextual content and information, across various devices+screens. Currently, he is the general manager of Viacom Lab, a brand new user-centered and experimental team within Viacom to explore new things, at the intersection of media+product+design. Prior to the Lab, he spent 3 years as head of product at Viacom Music and Logo Group for entertainment brands MTV, VH1, CMT and LOGO. He rebuilt the team from 2 product owners to 2 vp of product and 7 product owners to develop multi-platform, video-centric products (responsive websites, 15 iOS/Android/XBOX apps) for TV shows and events like VMA, with hundreds of millions of streams a year. He led the transformation to user-centric, MVP, and agile/squad-based development processes, helped started data science initiative for MTV News, and led future looking mindset as corporate liaison of MIT Media Lab. Previously, Chaki investigated place-based discovery and social experiences at the MIT Media Lab, by co-deploying a real-time, pervasive network of 30 large touchscreens using RFIDs and AI algorithms in its new building. He also was a veteran of adaptive learning experiences via Interactive Constructs, a 10M+ annual revenue and 60+ employee technology company that he co-founded (with $0 investment dollars) and sold, which powered leading products like Read180 for education companies like Scholastic, Harcourt, and Pearson. Chaki holds PhD and SM degrees in computer science from Harvard, where he designed auction-based algorithms to solve complex multi-user resource allocation problems in distributed systems including wireless sensor networks and cloud computing. He also holds MBA (MIT Sloan) and BS (Northeastern) degrees. Chaki is an advocate of using user-centered design and various rapid innovation methods (from Stanford D.School and LUMA Institute) for product development as well as general business design problems. He continues his extensive startup involvement by acting as mentors at accelerators and is currently Expert-in-Residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab, advising student startups, and acting as competition judge.

Clara Fernández-Vara

Clara Fernández-Vara is a game scholar, designer and writer. She is an Associate Arts Professor at the NYU Game Center. Her area of expertise is narrative in games and how it can integrate with game design, focusing on adventure games. She is particularly interested in applying methods from textual analysis and performance studies to the study of video games and transmedia artifacts. Clara’s videogame work is grounded in the humanities, informed by her background in literature, film and theatre. Before joining the NYU Game Center, Clara was a a researcher and game developer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She holds a Ph.D. in Digital Media from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Masters in Comparative Media Studies from MIT. Clara has presented her work at various international academic and industry conferences, such as DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association), and Foundations of Digital Games and the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC). She has worked both in games for research as well as in the commercial sphere. Her first book, “Introduction to Game Analysis” has been published by Routledge.

Omer Shapira

Omer Shapira is the head of Virtual Reality at Fake Love. His practice combines live action elements with procedural graphics, using custom-built software and hardware. Previously, Omer was a VR Developer at Framestore, The NYU Media Research Lab and the MIT Media Lab, and a Filmmaker and VFX Artist in Israeli TV. His work was presented at Tribeca Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival and The Barbican. His commercial VR work won an Art Director’s Club Award and was a Webby Awards Honoree. Omer has a B.Sc in Mathematics from Tel Aviv University and a Master’s from the NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Steven Tabakin

vl-tabakinSteven Tabakin is a New York-based producer with credits in independent feature film, television movies, documentaries, and live theater. He formed Tashtego Films with Margaret Whitton and Warren Spector, based on the the idea that great storytelling has the power to transform individuals and societies. He recently produced the film A Bird of the Air, which stars Rachel Nichols and Jackson Hurst and was directed by Margaret Whitton. Next up is the film, The Moment When, written and to be directed by James Lapine. He was George C. Wolfe’s Associate Producer at The Public Theater from 2003-2005, responsible for the development and production of many projects. In 2004 he produced Bob Balaban’s film adaptation of The Exonerated for Court TV, starring Brian Dennehy, Danny Glover, Delroy Lindo, Susan Sarandon, Aidan Quinn, and David Brown, Jr. From 1999-2003 he produced original drama programs for PBS, including A.R. Gurney’s Far East; Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles; Beckett on Film (2002 Peabody Award); and live broadcasts of The Man Who Came to Dinner and The Women. Documentary credits include Tantalus: Behind the Mask; The Topdog Diaries; and Changing Stages, Richard Eyre’s six-part series on the theatre of the 20th Century. At The Public Theater from 1994-98 he worked on Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk; The Wild Party; Saturn Returns; On the Town and many other shows.

Our Partners

Samsung Studio Soho
NYC Media Lab

Our Mentors

Mentors with expertise in creative coding and storytelling, such as  ITP/NYU faculty/alum Shawn Van Every and entrepreneur/technologist Gary-Yau Chan, were available for feedback and troubleshooting during the hackathon.

Shawn Van Every

VanEveryShawn Van Every is a full time faculty member at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. His courses include participatory and social media, programming, mobile technologies and interactive telephony. In 2008 he was honored with the David Payne Carter award for excellence in teaching. Shawn’s first book, Pro Android Media was published by Apress in 2010. He has demonstrated, exhibited and presented work at many conferences and technology demonstrations including O’Reilly’s Emerging Telephony, O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology, ACM Multimedia, Vloggercon and Strong Angel II. He was a co-organizer of the Open Media Developers Summit, Beyond Broadcast (2006) and iPhoneDevCamp NYC.

Gary Yau-Chan

ChanGary-Yau Chan is a hackathon enthusiast, participating in over 40 hackathons. He loves how technology can broaden the ways we can tell and visualize stories. Currently, Gary is cofounder and products lead at Oz Content Technologies.

Callie Leone

Callie LeoneCallie Leone works to define the future of the agency by spearheading strategic innovation initiatives such as gyro’s partner program, thought leadership with Fortune Knowledge Group, leading new business pitch work, onboarding and training new strategists in both the USA and Europe, and developing and implementing strategic tools and resources for all teams throughout gyro’s NA/EMNA network. She also is a core member of gyro:human, the agency’s newest healthcare practice and develops engagement, community, and brand strategies across all healthcare verticals. Callie brings her passion and expertise from the startup world and leverages new technologies like augmented reality to drive business results and improve brand experiences both for her company and her clients. She was a panelist at InsideAR:Munich 2014 discussing how augmented reality will impact enterprise through storytelling and immersive experiences.

VR Hackathon Team