Arrowstreet’s Kachina Studer participated in, and won the Reality, Virtually Hackathon at the MiT Media Lab on October 7-10th. The event sought to explore the application of virtual and augmented reality technologies for building new experiences and consisted of workshops led by industry experts, followed by two days of hacking to “transform the future of immersive technologies.” Participants from 9 countries and across the US came together to form 79 teams, which sought to develop new software solutions in a range of categories.
With her team, KidCity VR, Kachina developed TreeHouse, an educational platform that allows parents to interact with their children, helping them develop and achieve educational milestones. The team was inspired by the limitation of interactivity in virtual reality, particularly the inability for children and adults to play together in a virtual world. TreeHouse was built in Unity Game Engine, and users experienced the world through the HTC Vive, creating connections through an application that can be hosted on an iPad, cellphone, or desktop device. At the conclusion of the weekend, Kachina’s team (who only met one another on the first day) was awarded three prizes for TreeHouse: 2nd place for Best Human Well Being Hack, presented by Wayfair; Best HTC Vive Hack, presented by HTC Vive, and the overall Best VR Hack, presented by the Samsung Global Innovation Center.
As part of Arrowstreet’s Virtual Design Studio, Kachina’s research looks to establish a more comprehensive process between Architects, Interior Designers, Clients and the public. The interactive features of TreeHouse have the potential to bring a new level of collaboration to the way design is created in real time, giving architects more power to explore their concepts and advance decision making. Arrowstreet’s Virtual Reality team will be at the ABX conference in Boston from November 15-17 presenting their work in developing interactive design experiences.