10 Harvard teams at Reality, Virtually, Hackathon at MIT

Post written by: Jakub Florkiewicz, MBA '18

50 Harvard University students represented the 350 participants at the MIT Reality, Virtually, Hackathon. Check out 10 teams we happened to catch up with during the weekend! 

1. Charity Everett at Musical Puzzles. 

Get out of the bubble as true innovation is beyond one school

Topic: Mixing music in VR

Idea: Puzzle game in which you have to match the correct spheres to the correct pillars in order to recreate a song.

Founder's background: Harvard Extension School. Selected as a part of the Oculus Launch Pad program. Developed a Microsoft HoloLens app to aide in the furniture shopping experience. 

Team: Met on Facebook before the event and consists of Charity and Andy Tsen, a member of the Boston VR community

Advice to others: Don't be afraid to get outside of the Harvard bubble and collaborate with people you may not normally interact with. Some really cool and innovative ideas can come from it.

2. Jiabao Li at VR Documentation. 

Everyone can be entrepreneur. Just go to iLab and change the World.

Topic: Refugee crisis

Idea:  Creating empathy through allowing viewer to take part in difficult experiences of Syrian war. Through looking in different directions the user is making decisions, similar to those made every day by thousands of refugees. 

Founder's background:  BSc in Electric Engineering, MA at Harvard Graduate School of Design

Team:  Members found each other during Hackathon

Advice to others:  working creatively as a team is a challenge as we all have views that differ and because of that we must learn to actively listen and understand each other

 3. Rohit Agrawal at D2

Don't hold up your ideas as they might help others.

Topic: Diabetes treatment

Idea:  Helping improve the feelings of patients with diabetes-related depression, though gaming enabled self-accomplishment

Founder's background:  Physician with MD, Harvard Medical School / MGH

Team: Konrad Feiler (Berlin) (Polyglot Programmer and Game Developer), Rikas Shen (Boston, MIT) ( Designer Programmer), Jeanne Kelly (New York) (Product Manager), Sarfraz Ahmad (Boston) (Software Engineer).

Advice to others:  Don't hold up your ideas. Spread them as team and execution are most important.

More: http://devpost.com/software/d2/ 

4. Mark Kabban

Fall in love with the learning process

Topic:  Language learning for refugees

Idea:  Learning refugee kids English through practical and fun application. A dog assists a refugee in everyday situations in VR advising on what to say.

Founder's background: Entrepreneur in refugee support area, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Advice to others:  Put yourself at the edge of your ability. This is where life is exciting most.

5. Jassim Ahmad

No one puts one's children into a boat, unless the water is safer than the land


Topic:  Refugee crisis

Idea:  Resisting to gamification of refugee crisis, our products shows moving, real pictures from Syria, to the user, to make him aware of the refugee reality.

Founder's background:  Nieman Fellowship at Harvard. Reuters employee in new media development.

Advice to others:  Think of essence of your story. Think who you are targeting.

6. Michelle Wantuch & Ryan Lee at MOLECULVR

It doesn't matter what you know, it's how effectively you can learn

Topic:  Chemistry education


Idea:  Virtual periodic table game where players can pull atoms out of a periodic table and mix and match them to create molecules. We hope to partner with museums and use the game as a way to reinforce the concepts students learn in school, and to enhance the learning experiences of those who might not learn in the traditional way.

Founder's background:  Harvard Graduate School of Education

Team:  Initiator of idea reached out to the teammates through the hackathon's Facebook page during and in the weeks leading up to the event. Taylor Gates (University of Texas at San Antonio),  Ryan Lee (Harvard Graduate School of Education), Jaqueline Hom (Computer Science at Wellesley College), Mariangely Iglesias Pena (Virtual Reality Applications Center, Iowa State University)

Advice to others: It doesn't matter what you know, it's how effectively you can learn and adapt to the things you don't know. Many of us were new to the tools that were used to create our project, but were able to communicate and collaborate effectively and learn on the fly to create a limited, but complete experience for submission

7. Kun Fan

Get interdisciplinary experience

Topic:  Gaming

Idea:  Entertaining game of building from colour blocks in AR

Founder's background:  Harvard Graduate School of Design (PhD). Product manager at gaming company

Advice to others:  Interdisciplinary experience is most important success factor

8. Mike Drachkovitch at Magic Studio

Create healthy culture

Topic:  Video editing

Idea:  Video editing in VR for commercial use. Reducing number of monitors required through VR technology

Founder's background:  MPA at Harvard Kennedy School, MBA at MIT

Advice to others:  Create healthy culture at teams through empathic listening. Absorb what is said by others.

9. Tom  Gorham

Get out of your silo

Topic:  Customer surveys in VR

Idea:  Changing landscape in VR accordingly to survey answers, filled by user.

Founder's background:  Harvard Graduate School of Education. Owner of language school in Japan

Team:  We met at the Hackathon: Barry Dineen (3D artist/unity developer), Keith Hartwig (Artist/Designer), Justin Chin (Unity/C# developer), James David Moffet (Developer/Designer)

Advice to others:  Don't be afraid to get out of siloses. Bring your own experience to the table.

 10. Varun Mani at WayPoint RX

People are most important

Topic:  Drug store operations improvement through AR

Idea:  Reducing number of pharmacists mistakes by leveraging AR technology of HoloLens at drug stores. The HoloLens scans a prescription and leads a pharmacists to a right place in the store. Application also double-checks the label of drug with a prescription.

Founder's background:  Computer Engineering (BSc). Worked for Microsoft on the HoloLens. MBA at Harvard Business School (Class of 2018)

Team:  We all meet at the Hackathon. EMBA student from MIT got us all together.

Advice to others:  The team is most important. Take time to get to know each other.