Mixed Reality Charms Universal Parks & Resorts at Hackathon


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Mixed Reality Charms Universal Parks & Resorts at Hackathon
April 01, 2015

This weekend, we held the third Comcast NBCUniversal Hackathon at the Loew's Portofino Bay hotel at Universal Orlando. With 170 participants — including developers, engineers, local students, and entrepreneurs —  the participants presented 42 different prototypes at the end of the two-day event. One of the key themes to emerge was the mix of augmented and virtual reality, what some are calling "Mixed Reality." SorcerAR won the $10,000 grand prize with a mixed reality concept that could possibly allow guests to visit our Universal Theme Park virtually and get a taste of some of our park attractions at home. Sean McCracken, Estella Gong, William Klein and Victor Salomon (pictured above) from New Mexico developed the winning concept.

There were a total of six challenge winners and an additional four winners from our sponsors and technology partners.

  • Grand Prize/Universal Parks & Resorts Marketing Challenge Winner: "SorcerAr" -- "SorcerAR" mixes augmented and virtual reality, enticing guests to visit the park by allowing them to virtually walk through park attractions at home. Sean McCracken, Estella Gong, William Klein and Victor Salomon from New Mexico developed the winning concept.
  • Universal Parks & Resorts Technology Challenge Winner: "USense"-- “USense” is an app that uses voice command to help complete the Universal Parks & Resorts experience for the visually impaired and hard-of-hearing, providing relevant contextual information about the theme park.
  • Universal Parks & Resorts Creative Challenge Winner: “Malignant Monster” -- "Malignant Monster" is an interactive game for Halloween Horror Nights that uses beacon technology to spread the fear, connecting guests to monsters in the theme park.
  • Universal Parks & Resorts Entertainment Challenge: “Wanduh” -- “Wanduh” is an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) that invites guests into a storyline in the theme park, while rewarding them for participation.
  • Telemundo Challenge Winner: “Interactivo” -- “Interactivo” gives users a 360 immersive experience behind the scenes leveraging personal devices, Google Cardboard, or Oculus.
  • Golf Channel's GolfNow Challenge Winner: “GolfBid” -- “GolfBid” allows users on a tight budget to bid on last-minute golf tee times for huge savings.

The NBCUniversal Media Labs team mentored and provided hands on technical assistance throughout the 24-hour event. In addition to dozens of innovative product concepts and presentations, the event resulted in the NBCUniversal Human Resources team speaking with more than 70 participants. We look forward to hiring even more talented technologists as the result of our hackathon series.

Local startups and students have asked about a repeat hackathon in Orlando, which we will look forward to after we complete our upcoming hackathon in London June 6-7.

The NBCUniversal Media Labs team has also held Comcast NBCUniversal Hackathons in New York and Los Angeles, which have resulted in product incubations as well as the hiring of many skilled developers. Hackathons are critical in helping NBCUniversal to engage with innovators, execute disruptive concepts, and drive strategic results as the company looks to engage with the tech community to find new talent and ideas that enhance the consumer experience. Media Labs, an organization within NBCUniversal, is dedicated to working with academic research groups, start-up companies, and the global venture capital community to accelerate technology innovations and to help develop new business models for the company’s content delivery businesses.  Media Labs is staffed with top technology professionals from the worlds of application strategy, mobile development, virtualization, video, and consumer-experience technologies. To learn more about Media Labs and further upcoming hackathons, visit http://nbcuhackathon.com/.