As innovations in the augmented reality field become more affordable and accessible, often that’s because it’s possible to 3D print some of the parts for production — and the independence and reduced bottom line in using 3D printing is often what propels innovations along to begin with as designers have more latitude and control over their prototypes — which, during production, can be changed and pumped out daily at the beginning.
A match between the two is of course extremely beneficial, and obviously that’s what Shapeways and Meta were thinking, as they kick off a 24-hour hackathon in San Francisco this coming weekend, on March 6 and 7. At a registration cost of $25, this is the first Meta Augmented Reality Hackathon. They promote it as a great way to get hands-on experience building augmented reality applications and a way to work with Meta’s other partners, Wix, Unity, AWE, and UploadVR. At the end of the hackathon, hackers present their created apps in hopes of winning.
With three teams being selected as winners, inside their Meta 1 Developer Kit they will find:
- Meta 1 see-through AR glasses and Meta SDK software ($667 value)
- 1 Year Unity Pro license ($1,500 value)
- Bundled Unity packages Vectrosity, Coherent UI, Highlighting System ($180 value)
The history of Meta is deeply tied to 3D printing.
“Like most hardware startups, we are incredibly indebted to 3D printing. We created early functional prototypes using 3D printers. In fact, we couldn’t have shipped our first product without them. In the early days, we were creating a new prototype every day,” Soren Harner, Chief Product Officer at Meta, told Shapeways in a recent blog.
While it’s one of the technologies we’ve all been aware of as one of those Star Trek ‘far in the future’ applications that seems more like magic than any type of reality, AR is becoming surprisingly available, affordable, and poised to hit the mainstream — much like 3D printing. The chief scientist at Meta, Steve Mann, has been working on the technology since the ’70s and the journey is by no means over as they are still watching AR emerge and grow.
The fields of AR and 3D printing are remarkably symbiotic as well, as not only does 3D printing work with helping to produce AR prototypes and products, but AR can be used for purposes like print previewing in the 3D modeling and 3D printing process. It’s beneficial and different as the designer has a more advanced perspective in being able to place the object where they want to use it. Perspective is much more keen as the designer can view the object, like a piece of jewelry, in its physical environment.
With a goal to see tighter integration between CAD and Meta, they are hoping that more and more apps can be created — and soon. Harner hints that he would love to see some effort at the hackathon put toward a way to extend .stl file export from their current 3D viewing application which allows the designer to interact with objects.
All makers, developers, hackers, and designers who are interested are highly encouraged to sign up for the hackathon — 24 hours of using brainpower to come up with some innovative AR apps and win a great prize, along with the addition of Shapeways credit for the Design Award. Click here for more information on registering for the Meta Augmented Reality Hackathon.
Is this a hackathon you are interested in attending? How do you see augmented reality progressing with 3D printing in the future? Tell us your thoughts in the Augmented Reality Hackathon forum over at 3DPB.com.