Published: Mar 14, 2019
Updated: Apr 16, 2019

Meet a Winning Hackathon Team: Magic Ideation

Author: Ben Nelson

Magic IdeationRecently I had a chance to catch up with Victor Hu, team lead for Magic Ideation, the team that took home the third-place prize after competing at the AT&T Mixed Reality Hackathon with Magic Leap in November 2018.  Victor shares how the team was organized and decided on their approach to building an Mixed Reality (MR) / Extended Reality (XR) project.

The Team

XR projects are a major undertaking and require a balanced team with knowledge in 3D Design, XR UX/UI Design and XR Engineering or coding. To compete at the Hackathon, the Magic Ideation team came prepared with members possessing a wide array of experience and skillsets:

  • Wangshu Sun was the creator of Dream of Wings, a Virtual Reality (VR) flying experience featuring simple aerodynamics and controlled by body motion. She was also one of the creators of Melody Painter, a VR landscape creation experience controlled by playing melodies on a MIDI keyboard.
  • Mengjia Guo is a VR UX/UI designer at a XR startup. Previously, while at Cornell University, she led a research project at Virtual Embodiment Lab on novel embodied interactions in a networked virtual environment, by designing and implementing a synchrony-building game prototype.
  • Jiayu Liu has a degree in game development and is currently working as a game engineer with deep knowledge of Unity development. In addition, she has three years of experience in Augmented Reality (AR) and VR, with hands-on engineering experience with Oculus, Vuforia, ARKit and computer vision techniques.
  • Chen Zhang is a sculptor, 3D artist and modeler with a master’s degree in 3D animation and visual effects from the Academy of Art University. She has more than three years of experience with 3D models and animations.
  • Victor Hu has a master’s degree in human-computer interaction from the University of Michigan and more than three years of XR experience. During that time, he has collaborated on more than ten VR/AR projects, including work as a product designer and prototyper with Jaunt XR and Veer VR. Victor has a wide base of knowledge having worked with Oculus, Google Daydream, Google Tango, Vuforia, A-Frame, ARKit, ARCore, and now Magic Leap.

The Project

Once the team was formed, they asked each member to come up with five ideas they would like to build for the event. They then sat together discussing all the ideas that each member had pitched and voted on the ideas that they were most interested in working on. After discussing each option they chose the concept for Magic Ideation, to reimagine the way of ideation using mixed reality.

Their final concept, Magic Ideation, is an interactive spatial ideation tool enabling users to create, visualize, connect, organize, store and share ideas of different formats (text, images, audio, videos, 3D models and so forth) in a comprehensive yet efficient and natural way in mixed reality. According to Victor, they selected this concept because they “saw the potential of mixed reality making a big difference in improving our daily work productivity.”

The Technologies

At its heart, Magic Ideation is a productivity tool that is highly-reliant on providing seamless and intuitive methods for user input. To create the best experience possible, the team focused mainly on using the Lumin SDK and the input options built into the Magic Leap platform. These included hand tracking, gesture recognition, and of course, the six degrees of freedom (6DoF) controller. The team also had hoped to integrate gaze tracking into the application but decided to reduce their scope due to the time constraints of the Hackathon.

In addition to the physical interaction features that the team integrated using the Lumin SDK, they also wanted to integrate voice commands. To accomplish this goal, the team used the speech-to-text capabilities of IBM Watson.

The Future

The Magic Ideation team plans to continue working on the Magic Ideation project they began at the Hackathon to make it “more comprehensive, polished and capable of supporting multiple users.” They have also applied for a grant from the Magic Leap Independent Creator Program.

Good luck to the team on their future endeavors, and we hope to see them again at a future Hackathon!


AT&T SHAPE Hackathon

Are you interested in entertainment and love to code? Do you have an idea for an app that can highlight how 5G will disrupt the way we experience, consume or create content?

Then join us on April 12-14, 2019 in Los Angeles for a very special 5G themed Hackathon – sign up here.

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