Article

Seattle Virtual Reality Hackathon: The Future of Interactive Sound

July 15, 2015

The development and application of virtual reality technology has until recently, been dominated by the game development industry. It is only within the last few years that other industries have begun to explore and leverage this technology in other ways.

Seattle’s first Virtual Reality (VR) Hackathon provided two of Mortenson’s integrated construction coordinators, Marc Kinsman and Will Adams, the opportunity to meet development experts from Gear VR, HoloLens, unity 3D, and Unreal. They connected with local experts and users and shared how Mortenson is currently using VR technology in the built environment.

There were a number of project categories and varying gaming-based projects but a major challenge with VR development to date is the singular focus on the visual experience. One project at Seattle’s first VR Hackathon shifted focus to incorporation of realistic, interactive, stereophonic sound - studying its impact on user experience.

The “game,” created by Marc and later awarded the mobile application award, was a digital version of the childhood game “hot or cold.” Using mp3’s, custom scripts, Unity, and Google cardboard, Marc was able to create a digitally reactive sound experience. When the user focused directly on an object within 3D space a sound clip would be triggered; the volume of which was dependent upon user proximity (near or far). 

Marc and Will had a great time and the team eagerly anticipates the upcoming Seattle AEC Hackathon; September 25-27 at the Pacific Northwest Center for Construction Research and Education.