Now that its first developer conference is in the rearview mirror, Magic Leap continues to nurture its content development community, this time with an assist from strategic investor and retail partner AT&T.
After accepting submissions through Oct. 26, Magic Leap held its first Mixed Reality Hackathon in San Francisco over the weekend, with winners announced on Sunday.
Among the 31 submissions, judges selected three winners, with the grand prize winner taking home $5,000, the runner up pocketing $3,000, and third place securing $2,000.
The grand prize winner was Lifescope, makers of a platform that visualizes a users' online transactions and captured content. The company submitted XR Time Machine, an app that allows users to explore their digital timeline via WebXR.
"Lifescope is a tool for connecting your services into an API of you. Individuals can choose which aspects of their life to track and improve. From an individual data wallet, anyone can spin up their own 'gallery' a time machine portal to re-live their past and retell their story, or project the future and test-run their concepts," wrote developer William Collins-Broza in a Devpost describing the project.
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"In our Unity experience, we can slide between day and night, see the route taken throughout the day and jump into 360-degree videos of highlights of the journey. In our WebXR experience, you can join from any device, including Magic Leap, and walk around through highlights of the journey through time-lapse 360-degree photo spheres."
Coming in second was Dr. Dodgy's Intergalactic Augmented Reality Circus. Developed by a former circus juggler, the experience presents users with a cosmic circus via interactive 3D content in the user's space.
"This project uses augmented reality to augment a real live story based circus performance. What is reality and what is augmented will blend together as you watch the circus show interact with spaceships, inter-dimensional portals, asteroids, robots, machines, lightning, and more," said creator Andrew Towl, who hand-modeled the 3D content and animations with Blender, with Unity and Vuforia used to create the AR experience.
The third place winner was Magic Ideation, an interactive spatial ideation tool that mixes the tactile canvas of a whiteboard with the multimedia capabilities of a desktop PC and a mobile device.
"Our mixed reality ideation tool combines the merits of the two traditional means and brings it to a new level," said Victor Yunqi Hu in a Devpost describing the project. "Firstly, it provides users with an infinite canvas to create and display ideas in the space in any way they want. Also, users can make connections between notes and organize ideas in different media formats to create a map of ideas through a set of intuitive and efficient spatial interactions utilizing different input sources. Further down the line, it paves the way for a revolutionary remote collaborative ideation."
While it is difficult to pass judgment from afar without experiencing the apps firsthand, it is also hard to proclaim any of these prototypes as the potential "killer apps" for the platform. So, does that make the event a failure? Hardly.
Since AT&T has committed to being the exclusive retailer of Magic Leap's first consumer-focused device (whenever it arrives), the company has a vested interest in helping grow Magic Leap's developer community. And, as an internet service provider, AT&T also stands to benefit from the consumption of future AR apps that will need 5G speeds to push high-quality 3D content at low latency. Therefore, from AT&T's perspective, Magic Leap will serve as yet another media company portal, effectively representing more screens for its Direct TV Now service (and I'm pretty sure the company wants to see a return on its capital investment into Magic Leap as well).
Ultimately, content from indie developers will be one of the keys to Magic Leap's success, so bringing the developer community up to speed with a new platform helps grow the pipeline of potential apps and experiences in the coming months and years. And for a company like AT&T, $10,000 in cash prizes is pocket change, especially when the goal is not necessarily to uncover the next Angry Birds, but rather to serve as the catalyst for developers to start thinking about what "spatial computing" is all about and give them some experience working in the new paradigm.
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