Emanuel Leicht of atec innovation GmbH and his team have the decisive edge in exiting competition
This past weekend, developers, programmers and enthusiasts met up for the VR hackathon in Stuttgart to delve into virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) together. The hackathon’s goal was to connect hobby developers, technology fans, students and experts from diverse disciplines and across industry borders. However, the centerpiece of the event was an anxiously awaited competition in which VR experts had to display their creativity and imagination. From the moment the competition began, it was clear that Emanuel Leicht’s team were one step ahead of the rest.
Leicht is a VR developer at atec innovation GmbH, a subsidiary of STAR COOPERATION. atec innovation provides unmatched expertise in product development to customers from different industries. Highly qualified engineers, designers and programmers accompany customers on a journey from the initial idea to serial production as they seek to turn creative, time- and resource-optimized product ideas into reality.
After studying electrical engineering, information technology and computer engineering at RWTH Aachen, Leicht was initially absorbed with electronic circuits, especially programming micro controllers and 3D applications in the Unity 3D engine. Since March 2017, the engineer has been focusing on developing VR technologies, thereby emphasizing the company’s cutting edge in this area.
Hackathon as a meeting point for creative VR developer and programmers
This year’s VR hackathon in Stuttgart was all about applying VR and AR in an industrial environment. In recent years the limitless possibilities of virtual and augmented reality have been gaining more and more importance in industrial settings. Therefore, companies like Daimler regularly initiate networking events to further drive development in this area and to foster creative ideas as well as the joy of experimenting.
Overall, 22 participants took part in the competition. They formed interdisciplinary teams comprised of programmers and 3D developers, but also economic and design experts. Two Daimler Group units, Fleetboard and Global Training, provided topical areas for which the teams had to come up with an innovative business model as well as a 3D application. While Fleetboard concentrated on digitizing and visualizing fleet organizations with the help of VR and AR applications, Global Training was mostly interested in creative development ideas for the Microsoft Hololens.
A holodeck for truckers
Emanuel Leicht and his team had the idea to develop a virtual room for truck drivers with the help of VR glasses. The result was a kind of “holodeck” that incorporated a mixture of real surroundings and virtual influences. By using this technology drivers could escape the cramped space of their cabins and delve into virtual worlds, particularly during breaks. There are no limits to the possible applications: from planning the next day’s route with an interactive map to creating their own 3D living room, including video messages from their family and 360-degree football videos, the VR glasses offer considerable added value to drivers.
Within three days, the team of five engineers developed the product idea into a comprehensive business model complete with a prototype. The judges felt that the “skillful combination of different elements in a genius product” was the decisive element for the team’s success. Emanuel Leicht is convinced that the idea will not just offer benefits to drivers (including health benefits), but also fleet owners and roadhouse operators. The VR specialist was enthusiastic about the Stuttgart hackathon’s informal and productive atmosphere and is looking forward to using the showcase product in other STAR fields of application.