Over the last few years, the virtual reality space has earned a welcome reputation for fostering better representational balance with regard to gender compared to the general tech industry, with women like Nonny de la Peña and many others leading the charge.
Comparatively, augmented reality hasn't (at least on the surface) looked as balanced, which is something Microsoft is apparently working to address at the developer level via an upcoming event.
In December, Microsoft will host the Women in AI & Mixed Reality Hackathon at the Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco, right across the street from the Moscone Center, the site of countless tech events that were important to Silicon Valley's overall history.
The free three-day event will allow developers and creatives to network and meet with Microsoft engineers and designers who will serve as mentors during the event. Also, HoloLens and Kinect inventor, and Microsoft Technical Fellow, Alex Kipman (a member of this year's NR30) will be on hand to give a special keynote address.
The San Francisco Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studio.Image by Adario Strange/Next Reality
Along with prizes (no word yet on what those prizes will be), attendees will also get a chance to tour the new Mixed Reality Capture Studio at the same facility. Earlier this year, I got a chance to visit the facility myself and it was an impressive peek behind the scenes and a reminder of just how easy it now is for independent developers and companies to create immersive content using volumetrically captured actors.
Hackathon attendees are advised to bring VR-enabled laptops loaded with Unity (not a beta version) and Visual Studios 2017. Also, the on-site team will allow competitors to borrow motion controllers and a Windows Mixed Reality Immersive Devkit if they don't already have their own.
Doors will open on Friday, Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. PT, with the last session beginning on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. PT. The event will be held at 680 Folsom in downtown San Francisco, and you can register now via Eventbrite. The event is free, but there are a limited number of tickets available (about 150 left at the time of this writing).