MIT Reality Hack is a community-run XR hackathon held at MIT co-hosted by a team of community volunteers (alumni, friends, and others) with the Reality Hack Organization 501-c3 and a student org VR/AR@MIT.  We all share a common goal: to educate, empower and enable people to be part of the XR industry.


What to Submit

A link to the public github repo with your project.

Create a video documenting your project.

If a team submits a video using Tik Tok's effect house, it will be eligible for the Tik Tok track prize. In this scenario the video should document the process of creating the project. 

Hackathon Sponsors


$13,200 in prizes

Grand Prize

Well, how do we put this? The Grand Prize will be awarded to the project which has, compared with all other projects, demonstrated the most awesomeness. We are looking for compelling, clever, and impactful work, while considering our standard judging criteria (e.g. is the technical implementation good and impressive, etc.).

Future Constructors

The Future Constructors program is handcrafted by the Reality Hack org to emphasize purposes that we deem of particular importance. This year it is focused on 3 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals:

3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Teams involved in the program will focus exclusively on these goals. However, any team whose project advances one of these goals is eligible for the track prize with the condition that one person on your team is part of the Future Constructors Program.

Living Sustainably

This track will focus on the best project that advances one or more of the following UN SDG’s:

7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Protecting and Restoring the Environment

This track will focus on the best project that advances one or more of the following UN SDG’s:

6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Promoting Prosperity for All

This track will focus on the best project that advances one or more of the following UN SDG’s:

1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Working Together for Inclusion and Equality

This track will focus on the best project that advances one or more of the following UN SDG’s:

5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development*

* We’re interpreting 17 to include all forms of partnerships to achieve the SDG’s.

Hardware: Interfacing with the Human Body

Humans are squishy and they’re all slightly different sizes. It’s a really big challenge to make hardware that interfaces with human bodies, but a really rewarding one. Haptics, inputs galore! The team that does this best wins this prize.

Hardware: Interfacing with the World

Robots, smart home IoT devices, and more! How can you control or explore the world around you with custom hardware while wearing an XR headset. The team that best demonstrates this wins this prize .

Hardware: Impact!

The team that demonstrates the most real world impact for their device (choose a target audience that would use your device) Some examples of impact: bringing XR accessibility to more people via custom hardware, or making a cool VR device that will push the VR industry forward in some way (you decide how)!

Best of Hardware Track

This prize will be awarded to the best project in the Hardware Track, which will likely make use of VR/AR@MIT’s open source software project, The Singularity.

Technology Horizons for Human Interfaces

In the past several years, 6 DoF headset and controller tracking has become the de-facto basis for the standard input/output configuration for head-mounted VR/AR devices. The universe of other input/output mechanisms is large, and in this hackathon our sponsors’ hardware will allow you to explore: Eye tracking, BCI, Hand tracking, Advanced haptics.

This prize will be awarded to a team whose project is exceptionally compelling, clever, and impactful in one or more of these areas.

WebXR - Sponsored by Wonderland

We wouldn’t be here at MIT Reality Hack without the World Wide Web. The internet has enabled many people to publish and access information, and thereby unleashed a wave of creativity and commerce all around the world.

In contrast, XR has remained niche for reasons including price, distribution, usability, and lack of existing content and use cases (a bit of a Catch-22).

WebXR addresses usability and distribution, and it’s your job to make it happen by creating tools and content. Show us what you’ve got, Reality Hackers.

Best use of an ArcGIS Maps SDK - Sponsored by Esri

The ArcGIS Maps SDK provides numerous capabilities for leveraging GIS data and information in your XR application.

This prize will be given to the project that produces the most creative and immersive geospatial solution using the ArcGIS Maps SDK for Unity or Unreal Engine.

Best Use of Snapdragon Spaces - Sponsored by Snapdragon Spaces

Snapdragon Spaces platform empowers developers to unlock the full potential of wearable AR using industry-leading technology, a cross-device SDK, and an open ecosystem.

This track will reward the most innovative, compelling and impactful experience using Snapdragon Spaces.

Reality Hack 2023 Future of Storytelling Prize: Effect House AR Short Film Festival - Sponsored by Effect House

For this track, we want you to create a narrative short film! Your film must feature VFX created in Effect House and published as TikTok effects.

We want your creativity to soar so the film requirements are simple: create 3 TikTok effects and use them to tell a story related to your project in a video at least 1 minute long.

Points will be given for the technical complexity of your effects, creative use of AR to tell a story, and creative integration of effects into your video. (You won't be judged on your filmmaking or acting abilities!)

Web3 - Sponsored by Solana Foundation

According to Wikipedia, Web3 is an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web which incorporates concepts such as decentralization, blockchain technologies, and token-based economics. In this track, we explore the intersection of Web3 and XR. Indeed, XR is often considered an integral part of what makes Web3 compelling. For example, trading virtual goods (e.g. using NFT’s) seems particularly interesting when the traded goods are represented in 3D and experienced immersively. What are the consequences of this observation, and what are other ways that XR and Web3 form a virtuous pairing?

Spatial Audio - Sponsored by

While it is easy to think about XR as a primarily visual 3D medium, the auditory component of an experience can be deeply information-rich and contribute to a strong sense of presence. Create an experience that surrounds you with sound and acoustic detail. Spatial audio is an art unto itself, and this category will reward excellence in this art.

Mixed Reality

In prior MIT Reality Hack events, blends of the physical and virtual worlds were primarily created through transparent AR HMD’s and mobile phone / tablet-based AR.

This year a number of new devices are offering a video see-through (or “passthrough”) functionality on lower cost devices. This makes the associated user affordances accessible in a broader and deeper way than ever before at this year’s Hack.

Blend the physical and the digital into magic-for-good in this track.

Wild West

Our rules are designed to create a level playing field for all teams participating in MIT Reality Hack. No paid assets, no non-open source code, no hardware devices that only you have acccess to. But if we consider a world without those constraints, you might be be able to make some pretty cool stuff. In this track you can bring whatever you want, buy whatever you want, and incorporate whatever code you want in your project. The requirement is that you make it clear to the judges what you started with, and what implementation you did during the Hack. Projects in the Wild West track are only eligible for this track and its prize.

Shared World Experience - Sponsored by CyberHub Syndicate

Best Use of ShapesXR - Sponsored by ShapesXR

Best in Presence

The theme for this year’s Hack is Presence. What does presence mean? The most obvious meaning in this context is the one that is often ascribed to effective uses of immersive VR and AR - the subjective feeling that the worlds and world elements projected by an XR experience are “real” in the way they were intended to be. Less obvious, perhaps, are the other aspects of presence that we are here to highlight:

Presence means being present in the moment with your attention, seeing and hearing the people around you in a place and time.

Presence means showing up and standing up for your community and the people around you.

How will your project make people Present?

Experiential Artistry

The name of this track may sound cryptic, but there’s a reason for it. As we considered having an Art track, we realized two things: (1) (not surprisingly) it’s hard to define art, and (2) there are also things that we would not directly define as art (including Design) that we’d like to encourage in reward in this track. Hence, Experiential Artistry was born, and includes the following:

Art: Whether it’s a deep artistic concept, nice-looking assets, or a novel experiential usage of XR technology, this category will reward…art!

Design. Design is boad term that refers to the process of creation as well as the artifacts that we create. Similarly, this prize will consider both

Excellent design (interaction design, visual design, sound design)

Tools and workflows for design, which enable creators in an expressive, no-code way)

AI. It’s been an exciting year for new powerful and expressive AI tools. Show us what they can do!

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


AR / VR Experts

AR / VR Experts

Sponsor Company Representatives

Sponsor Company Representatives

Judging Criteria

  • Originality/Creativity
    This criterion would evaluate the extent to which the XR project is unique and innovative in its approach to solving a problem or addressing a challenge.
  • Technical Execution
    This criterion would assess the quality and proficiency of the technical implementation of the XR project, including its use of XR technology and its ability to function smoothly and effectively.
  • Rules
    Teams will have their projects evaluated along the tracks they apply for.
  • User Experience
    This criterion would evaluate the overall user experience of the XR project, including factors such as ease of use, engagement, and enjoyment.
  • Impact and Potential
    This criterion would assess the potential impact and value of the XR project, including its potential to address real-world challenges and its potential for future development and growth.
  • Presentation
    This criterion would evaluate the effectiveness of the team's presentation, including factors such as clarity, organization, and engagement with the audience.
  • Special Something
    This criterion is left up to the judges' discretion

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

Tell your friends

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.