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Peter Lu - Sheridan Bachelor of Game Design student

Sheridan student wins big at Reality Virtually Hackathon in Boston

Jan 31, 2019
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Third-year Honours Bachelor of Game Design student Peter Lu won two awards totalling $3,500 (USD) at the Reality Virtually Hackathon, which took place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, MA from January 17 – 21.

The Reality Virtually Hackathon unites interdisciplinary minds in the exploration and application of augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies. Out of the roughly 1,600 applicants, only 400 were selected to participate in this exclusive event that took place in the heart of Boston’s tech scene. Lu and his team won the grand prizes in the “Best Use of Magic Leap” and “Wayfair Way-More” categories.

Lu and his team, which was comprised of innovators from both Toronto and Boston, developed CleARsight – a Spatial Computing Accessibility application that helps improve the daily lives of individuals with low vision. “We wanted to enhance accessibility, and this headset acts as a virtual cane,” Lu explains. “Instead of using a physical cane to obtain information about one’s surroundings, a person with a visual impairment can hold a small controller in one hand and use it to detect objects they might trip on or bump into.”

Using a powerful combination of mapping, haptic feedback and audio and visual overlays, CleARsight also illuminates one’s environment, outlining object edges with high-contrast colours and highlighting horizontal planes with vivid patterns.

“Hackathons are important because they foster innovation and creativity, allowing us to apply our knowledge and develop tangible solutions to real-world problems,” Lu adds.

This is not the first bout of Hackathon success for Sheridan students. Hackademics, a student-run club, recently earned an impressive third-place finish out of a total 78 teams at the Elevate Hackathon – the largest hackathon event in Toronto’s history – back in September 2018. The club is comprised of individuals from a variety of Sheridan’s innovative programs, including Mobile Computing and Interaction Design, as well as Centre for Mobile Innovation (CMI) student researchers. Its mission is to unite like-minded individuals who are eager to apply their knowledge and innovative skill set within the collaborative setting of a hackathon.

Sheridan’s CMI conducts applied research using leading mobile and related technologies – including AR/VR – with a focus on health care. Students are actively involved in its groundbreaking research, helping them gain practical, real-world experience.

Pictured top right: Peter Lu, Honours Bachelor of Game Design student at the Reality Virtually Hackathon in Boston, MA.
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