21 concepts (> 80% edtech!) were received from teams hailing from the USA, Serbia, Germany, Argentina, Italy and Canada!

Interview with Damon Hernandez - 3D Web & Immersive Tech Dev & Designer

How did you get into organizing VR Hackathons?

It all started with my friend Dave Arendash who has been in 3d graphics for decades. He knew I founded the AEC Hackathon and suggested that we (the SF/Bay area VR community) should have a hackathon focused on all immersive technologies (AR,VR,etc.). In my effort to keep the event about community first and not push any particular vendor’s agenda, I asked my friends at the vendor neutral Web3D Consortium to act as our founding organization sponsor. We had our first event in San Francisco and then one of my work colleagues from IDEAbuilder asked me to help him do a VR Hackathon in Seattle where he is based. I kicked off the first two events there before handing it off to Trond Nielsen who has done a fantastic job at growing that community. To help keep the AR/VR hacker community together and promote cross-location collaboration, we agreed to keep things under the VRhackathon.com umbrella. The event has grown into a global community with events in Europe and others planned for Asia and Africa next year. We have also added the Virtual Worlds Society and EUVR as additional supporting organizations.

What's your opinion about WebVR's role in shaping the industry?
Simply put, the web will always win. We are already starting to see the move from the big players in the space to the web as the browsers, Javascript engines, bandwidth, and relevant web technologies get more robust for WebVR. Sure we are a couple years out but this will be how a majority of VR will be delivered. As a person that works with real world industries, WebVR will be how a significant amount of these enterprise experiences will be delivered. In time I feel it won’t be WebVR at all but just the Web that all know has a VR feature (if the web developer makes it). WebVR is just another evolution of the Web.

Are there any particular kind of applications, tools, or simulations that you'd really love to see come out of this hackathon?
Of course I’d like to see tools for making WebVR easier and applications that are focused on enterprise markets. I’d also really like to see VR applications that communicate with web3D scenes and websites for those that need to collaborate with others not in VR. I really hope to see hackers push the boundaries regarding mashing up technologies. Things like using a smart phone as a controller or having a WebVR experience communicate with a webAR app, stuff like that.

Are there any grave mistakes or pitfalls that you often see that you'd like for teams to avoid?
Some mistakes I see teams make are 1) trying to accomplish too much in the weekend and 2)building applications for industries with no prior knowledge of if the app is even useful. I hate seeing great work go to waste because it has no real industry value beyond a cool five second wow factor.

On the flip side, what are some tips that you'd like to share that might help teams create awesome stuff?
The number one tip is to have fun and make new friends. #2 is think outside the box and push your own limits. #3 When doing a VR experience for any discipline, I highly encourage teams grab someone from that domain to give direction to their project. #4 If you build something really awesome, take it further than just the hackathon!