ASUS Philippines Holds First Ever ZenFone AR Hackathon

Dubbed ZenFone AR: A New Reality, ASUS Philippines held a 48-hour hackathon event at Whitespace Manila in Makati City as part of the Taiwanese giant's official local launch of the new ZenFone AR smartphone. In case you are still not aware of this particular device, it is the world's first Tango-enabled and Daydream-ready smartphone with huge 8GB RAM and large 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display. Tango is a platform develop by Google enhancing the augmented reality technology to the next level, while Daydream has to do with Virtual Reality platform. Learn more about ZenFone AR here.

In line with ASUS' commitment to search for the incredible, together with the VR Philippines, a community of virtual reality developers and enthusiasts who promote the advancement of VR technology in the country, and key industry partners from the private and government sector, collaborated to organize a one of a kind hackathon event that aims to develop Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications that benefits the lives of Filipinos and addresses through the power of AR and VR.
"As you may know, Augmented and Virtual reality are still in their infancy stage and it needs more awareness to properly understand its full potential," said ASUS Philippines' Product Marketer for Smartphones, Mike Santos, as he welcomed the teams on the first day of the event. "Hence, AR and VR are game-changers that can make our lives better; especially now in this ever-changing digigtal world."
"ASUS Zenfone AR is the world's first Tango enabled and Daydream ready smartphone with 8GB RAM that is available in the market. We, at ASUS, believe that the ZenFone AR will be a great tool for professionals and early adaptors who are keen to further explore the power of Augmented and Virtual reality to maximize their profession and expertise."
"We are on the verge of going beyond what we know and hand-in-hand, we will be exploring endless possibilities and ways  in making reality far better than what it is today through the innovative power of the ZenFone AR." Santos concluded.
For a chance to win Php100,000 and undergo an exclusive immersion at ASUS Headquarters in Taiwan, six teams were chosen as finalists from different parts of the country. The six finalists were:
  • Team ARBotics from Quezon City
  •  Team Studio 3 from Makati City
  • Team imagineAR from Quezon City
  • Team MB from De La Salle University in Taft
  • Team Semicolon STI Global City
  • Team Dark Fire from Cebu City
These teams spent 48 hours in their confines of Whitespace Manila to develop Augmented and Virtual reality applications that were special to the capabilities of the ZenFone AR. To further challenge the app developers, the teams picked two different fields of specialization, which they had to provide AR or VR innovation into an application.

Bound by time in a hackathon that made use of two technologies that were quite new - each team displayed critical thinking and camaraderie as they worked hard to develop the application that aims to solve key problems in the Philippines. Fortunately, while still far from their perfected states, all six teams prevailed in creating different applications that they feel would be best solutions to the problems that they were assigned to.

Media guests, Zenfans, private and government sector members and as well as various IT overs-and-shakers arrived on the final day of the Zenfone AR: A New Reality Hackathon, last June 24. Attendees during this day did not only celebrate the arrival of the much-anticipated ZenFone AR in the Philippines, but also reveled in the brilliance each team displayed through the applications they made over the span of over just 48 hours, which they had the pleasure of experiencing during the second half of the everning.

The panel judges were composed of individuals who were well-versed in their fields and already utilized augmented reality and virtual reality in their respective areas of expertise starting from the Head of Membership fro GDAP, Mr. Solon Chen, Vice President for Digital Marketing Strategy for PLDT Enterprise and International Carrier Business, Mr. Carlo Ople, from the Marketing Lead for the SEA Region of Qualcomm, Mr. Dominukus Susanto, and the Undersecretary for Management and Operations for DICT, USEC Monchito Ibrahim. ASUS Philippines' very own Country Manager, Mr. George Su, who sat as the Chairman of the judges during the hackathon event.

Ranging from various problems on IT/Telco and Medical to Lifestyle and Design, each team was judged according to the following criteria:
  • 25% Relevance
  • 15% Creativity
  • 30% Usability
  • 20% Problem Solving
  • 10% Popularity vote
With the presented benchmarks, three teams were crowned winners of the first ever ASUS Philippines hackathon, while teams who did not place were given Php10,000 as consolation prizes and, in addition, Google Philippines gifted all participants all-access pass to Google events in the Philippines. The 3rd place, with the reward of Php50,000, was presented to Team ImagineAR, a team from UP Diliman and Los Banos that established the ImagineAR mobile games company in Quezon City, which developed "EngineAR" application - an augmented reality application on Engineering and Transport that allowed users to envision and design their automotive. The 2nd place, with the reward of Php75,000 was granted to Team Studio 3, a team of game developers from KLab Cyscorpions, Inc based in Makati, for their "kwARto" application, which tried to solve concerns on Lifestyle and Design with an augmented reality application which permitted the users to view rooms, and personalize them accordingly to what they want.

Team ARBotics, a group of UP Diliman Students and Haraya VR/Diwata-1 engineers from Quezon City and Navotas City. The team was led by former Diwata-1 developer, Juan Paolo Espiritu, and won the 1st place by showcasing a virtual reality application that aims to solve IT-Telco and medical issues through their application called "AR/ER". ARBotics developed the application for on-the-go medical practitioners who would need access to a body scanner, in the event of an unforeseen accident. They were awarded not only the Php100,000 case prize but also the 5-day exclusive immersion in ASUS Taiwan, under the Research and Development AMAX department, slated for October 2017.

Team ARBotics stand together with the Zenfone AR: A New Reality judges, Mr. Solon Chen of GDAP, Mr. Dominikus Susanto from Qualcomm, Mr. George Su the Country Manager for ASUS Philippines (center stage), USEC. Monchito Ibrahim of DICT upon winning the 1st place.
The ZenFone AR: A New Reality aims to empower the new generation of app developers. It was truly a celebration of going beyond reality by using a powerful and innovative smartphone device from AR and VR - the ZenFone AR.

Moreover, George Su, Systems Group Country Manager for ASUS Philippines shared that the search for the incredible would not end with just the hackathon. Su added, "The hackathon is only one way to help Filipinos understand this new kind of technology present today. Fans and enthusiasts can expect more efforts from ASUS Philippines to support AR and VR efforts spearheaded by industry leaders, Google Developers Groups, The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and as well as the private sector. We believe this effort is only a beginning towards the incredible."

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