Move over, gamers, virtual reality isn’t just for you anymore.
Kansas City will soon host its first-ever virtual reality hackathon, and it’s all about classroom education. The Kansas City Virtual Reality club — which brings together the area’s virtual reality enthusiasts — is challenging virtual- and augmented-reality aficionados to create applications that can help educators and students.
The weekend hackathon is set for July 15 to 17 at Kansas City’s Google Fiber Space.
In addition to helping educators better engage and teach students, a main function of the free event is to create connections between participants, said KCVR co-founder Steve Biegun.
“Our goal is to connect developers with other enthusiasts and to encourage development, growth and collaboration to create software to benefit our education system,” he said.
Hacker teams will spend the weekend working alongside area educators and software developers to leverage the latest in virtual reality hardware. KCVR will award prizes to the top three teams.
Biegun anticipates a myriad of programs and solutions from the weekend.
“We are hoping to see developers create exciting new programs that can be used in the classroom,” he said. “Whether these are specific to the gamification of learning or methods of having ‘virtual field trips’ — they can literally make anything. We are excited to see what people are going to create when given the means to be as creative as they want to be.”
Biegun said the virtual reality market is exploding into new fields. While its origins are in entertainment, he said virtual reality’s growth is pushing it into new applications.
“VR is now being used for industries aside from gaming,” he said. “Architecture, engineering, e-commerce, e-tourism and education are all embracing the new technology. This growth has brought many new developers to our group who are not necessarily interested in video game development.”
KCVR already has more than 100 members which can be attributed in large part to virtual reality’s growing popularity both in the Midwest and worldwide, Biegun said.
“In the past few months, two major VR headsets have been released to the consumer market,” Biegun said. “There will be an estimated 10 million VR users across the different VR headsets over the next year.”
KCVR is partnering with virtual reality tech giant Oculus, the Pulse Design Group, and Google for the event. To learn more on the event, click here.