This past weekend MIT Campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts I attended MIT Reality Hack Where I served as a panelist on XR’s Future of the Future and as a judge at Hackathon’s startup competition. It was impossible not to be inspired by the generosity and purposefulness of the students and their collaborators to spin off projects using VR, AR, and XR to solve real-world problems.
If you thought VR was mostly about games, you’d be surprised to see the projects these hackathon teams came up with in topics as diverse as healthcare, air traffic control, accessibility, mental health, street art, STEM education and family preservation. Connections — just to name a handful.
Also: I’ve tried the Vision Pro and other top XR headsets and here are the ones most people should buy
And while teams often tailor their experiences for VR headsets, some of them have also gone for a larger audience by including smartphone and tablet options. I especially appreciated that broader perspective, as there are still many people who have yet to try a headset for the first time, let alone own one. But it was also amazing to see hundreds of people strapping on headsets and darting between them and their laptops while chatting intensely with four to five of their team mates. I’ve never seen VR look so social.
About 50% of the participants were students from a wide range of universities and the remaining 50% were professors, entrepreneurs and working professionals (many of them recent graduates). About half were women and the group represented a wide range of nationalities and perspectives.
Event organizer Reality Hack Inc., a nonprofit run by volunteers, told me that about 2,000 people applied to participate and about 600 were chosen to come to MIT to participate in the 7th annual edition. event event Most of the program was done MIT Media Labitself a nexus of innovation and experimentation in AI, robotics, VR and other cutting-edge technologies.
Also: ZDNET’s Product of the Year: Meta Quest 3 was the quiet shock of 2023
Members of the press were invited to the MIT Reality Hack for the first time this year, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to see how excited some of the best and brightest students and young professionals are to use VR, AR, and XR in so many creative ways.
To give you a taste of the atmosphere and energy, I thought I’d share some of my favorite photos from the weekend.