The very first Merck Hackathon in USA was held successfully in Austin, Texas from 21-23 April. Hack EMD was the first-of-its-kind hackathon that focused on impact of Virtual and Augmented Reality on enterprise organizations. The Hackathon was open to startups and individuals interested in the field of VR, life sciences and marketing. The five challenges were already declared before the event. The challenges were as follows:

  1. Create an AR tool which will enable the future of hands-free laboratories. Can you create an AR tool which helps scientists organize materials, conduct an experiment, or document results?
  2. Develop a solution for AR/VR collaboration in an R&D setting: E.g. visualization/interaction of biomolecules from the Protein Data Bank, lab data visualization, report and presentation.
  3. Create an AR or VR customer support system for remotely troubleshooting physical equipment or machinery.
  4. Improve this Unity environment of a life sciences laboratory to make a more effective VR training experience: voice commands, chatbots, artificial intelligence, etc. (Unity project available to participants at the 4/12 happy hour)
  5. Think you know how to revolutionize an enterprise challenge? Show us your AR/VR solution!

The intensive two day Hacking resulted in innovative and creative solutions in the field of Augmented Reality. Quantum Interface were declared as the winners of the Hackathon. They built an AR solution that focusses on handsfree processes for our R&D scientists. This AR application allows scientists to watch training videos, take notes using voice, start and stop timers etc – All Handsfree. The second place was awarded to Thrillbox, that built a lead generation platform that is consumer friendly,requires only a user’s phone, can be guided through over speakerphone, allows users to share 2D or 3D content to drives more interest and awareness of the mLab to increase in person visits and the third place was awarded to the BCJ team.