Hacking Reality: The 3rd Annual Jaunt Hackathon

Arthur van Hoff (left) and Tony Fadell (right) at the 2018 Jaunt Hackathon

By Arthur van Hoff, CTO & Founder

Every summer, Jaunt organizes a company-wide Hackathon. It is a fun event designed to stimulate creativity and team building. Everyone at Jaunt is encouraged to participate, with engineers, studio team members, IT, HR, sales, marketing, etc. coming together across our offices to show off their creativity, team-up with their peers, do some out of the box hacking, learn new skills, and drive technology forward!

The week-long event starts with a kick-off meeting where participants can pitch their ideas and form teams. Teams get the entire week to hack and create something awesome. On Friday afternoon, it’s time to finalize the code, put down pencils, and present the projects. Demos are followed by audience voting, drinks, celebrity judges, and prizes!

There are very few rules, you can do almost anything, as long as it is creative. One year, I suggested that you could even do finger painting. And yes, Alex Ryzhov summited a time lapse video of himself creating a finger painting (sadly, he did not win the grand prize). One of the few rules is that you can join at most 3 teams. We added this rule because last year Rory Lutter joined almost every team and ended up winning multiple prizes. Each team is provided with a small budget in case there are expenses involved.

Each year there are dozens of teams, competing with a wide variety of projects. While participants are free to work on anything they’d like, being an XR company, a majority of the projects tend to focus on solving challenges in augmented, virtual, and mixed reality. From creating web XR experiences that combine virtual and augmented reality across multiple devices to creating branched interactive experiences and 3D printed AR avatars, this year’s hackathon brought about some very creative and compelling applications of immersive technology.

I have been organizing company-wide hackathons for over 20 years and they have always been a huge success. It takes company time and resources, but it stimulates creative thinking, team spirit, and it is a great source of new product ideas.

This year we were very fortunate to have Tony Fadell, inventor of the iPod, co-inventor of the iPhone, founder and former CEO of Nest, Principal at Future Shape, attend the Hackathon finale in San Mateo to select the final winner. 28 teams participated in 3 locations around the world. The final winner was the team from Santa Monica that submitted an AR version of Street Fighter featuring life-like avatars of myself and our CEO George Kliavkoff.

It was another successful and fun event. Thanks to Tony Fadell and his son Logan for picking the final winner. Can’t wait until next year!

More From the Jaunt Hackathon

Many of this year’s hackathon projects featured work across the spectrum of XR content.