On Saturday, November 19th, with relatively little fanfare history was made, 5 teams of young Nigerian VR enthusiasts – developers, 3D animators, graphic designers, students and entrepreneurs – came together to participate in Nigeria’s, and quite possibly Africa’s, first Virtual Reality Hackathon. The event was organised by Imisi 3D, the leading Virtual Reality creation lab in the country, with contestants asked to tackle solutions creation in 3 verticals – education, healthcare and tourism for the Samsung Gear VR.
Judith Okonkwo, Imisi 3D’s founder, explained the atypical process adopted for the Hackathon “we wanted to give the teams the best chance of success, particularly as we were all so new to VR content creation, so we formed teams 2 months before the hackathon. The thinking was that the teams could get together and start to work on their VR development skills with the lab’s support”. The Imisi 3D lab utilised several VR ready computers, Gear VRs and mobile devices, 360° Cameras and Leap Motions provided in conjunction with event partners Facebook, Samsung and the Virtual World Society.
The 5 participating teams and their projects were:
Team LeVRn – an app that teaches you how to code.
Team GoThere – an app that allows you to experience locations in Nigeria before visiting.
Team Life Race – a gamified learning experience that explains human conception.
Team Farm VR – an application that teaches extension workers how to deal with farm pests in local
Team 3D6 – a retail VR app for virtual shopping.
The judges for the event were CcHUB CEO – Bosun Tijani, Former Bank of Industry (BOI) CEO/MD Rasheed Olaoluwa, and Ericsson Innovation Lead – Bankole Alao; with Bunmi Otegbade, CEO of Generation Enterprise, serving as the MC on the day. They all commended the teams for the work done; with ‘Bosun Tijani reminding participants that the renaissance in the Nigerian tech sector was driven by the first hackathon in 2010, and this may well prove to be the case for the virtual reality industry.
Team LeVRn emerged victorious with their learning experience app, combining the Gear VR with the Leap Motion to create motion aided learning in the virtual environment. They won the Co-Creation Hub sponsored Competition Prize of $1,000 along, with $5,000 seed investment for the development of their product, and the Institute of the Future sponsored $1,000 Future prize.
The teams are now expected to further refine their products, with ongoing support from the lab, with fully developed VR experiences deployed to the Oculus store by the end of the year. Judith Okonkwo explained “the goal of the hackathon was always twofold, an event to inspire innovative creation for virtual reality and a first step to making Nigerian VR experiences available to the world.
The Oculus store and Samsung Gear VR provide this opportunity in a way very few HMDs can match, with over 2 million Gear VRs in use globally this is a direct window to the world”. This event was made possible through the generosity of our partners and sponsors CcHUB, Facebook, the Virtual World Society, the Institute for the Future, Samsung HQ and Asktoks.com.
The results https://www.facebook.com/Imisi3D/videos/1179398695483700/
The demos https://www.facebook.com/Imisi3D/videos/1179333875490182/
Checking in at the hackathon https://www.facebook.com/Imisi3D/videos/1179168748840028/
Unless otherwise stated all photos credited to Mohini Ufeli