From June 22nd to 24th, ASUS Philippines launched the Zenfone AR in Whitespace Manila, Makati.

“ASUS Zenfone AR is the world’s first Tango-enabled and Daydream-ready smartphone with 8GB of 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,” says Mike Santos, ASUS Philippines’ product marketer for smartphones.

“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.”

Adding to the launch was also a 48-hour hackathon titled “Zenfone AR: A New Reality Hackathon.”

A potential power to change the world for the better, augmented reality can also be greatly beneficial to the people of our country. And that was exactly what the hackathon was standing for.

Organized by ASUS and VR Philippines and key industry partners from the private and government sectors, the “Zenfone AR: A New Reality Hackathon” was where virtual reality developers had to come up with applications that could benefit the lives of Filipinos and address challenges to be faced through the power of AR and virtual reality.

Gathering finalists from all over the country, the competition had a total of six teams competing.

Team ARBOtics and Team ImagineAR from Quezon City, Team Studio 3 from Makati City, Team MB from De La Salle University in Taft, Team Semicolon from STI Global City, and Team Dark Fire from Cebu City.

With the use of AR and VR technology, these participants had to develop augmented and virtual reality applications that were special to the capabilities of the Zenfone AR. Lasting 48 hours in Whitespace Manila’s confines, the teams were deeply immersed in thought of how to solve the problems given to them.

Displaying critical thinking and excellent teamwork, these six teams were able to create different applications through the time pressure. Even though they were still a far cry out from perfect, these applications were what the teams thought to be the best solutions to their given problems.

Ranging from various problems on IT/telco and medical to lifestyle and design, the hackathon followed the following criteria for judging: 25% for relevance, 15% for creativity, 30% for usability, 20% for problem solving, and 10% for the popularity vote from the media and fans.

On June 24th, the final day of the hackathon, media guests, Zen fans, private, and government sectors along with many IT influencers arrived to celebrate the arrival of the Zenfone AR while also getting the chance to hear about the applications made by the six teams.

At the end of the competition, individuals well versed in their fields and have already used augmented and virtual reality for their respective areas of expertise served as the panel of judges. The panel includes:

Head of Membership for GDAP Solon Chen, Vice President for PLDT Enterprise’s Digital Marketing Strategy and International Carrier Business Carlo Ople, Marketing Lead for the SEA Region of Qualcomm Dominukus Susanto, Undersecretary for Management Operations of DICT Monchito Ibrahim, and George Su ASUS Philippine’s country manager who also sat as chairman of the judges during the hackathon.

Three teams were announced the winners while teams who did not place were given P10,000.00 as consolation prizes. Not only that, but Google Philippines granted all-access passes to all-participants for Google Events in the Philippines.

Taking 1st place was Team ARBotics. Led by former Diwata-1 developer Juan Paolo Espiritu, the group of UP Diliman students and Hiraya VR/Diwata-1 engineers from Quezon City and Navotas City made an application called “AR/ER”: a virtual reality application that aims to solve IT/telco and medical issues. Made for on-the-go medical practitioners, they could use the application if they need access to body scanners in the event of a sudden accident.

Not only was this team awarded with P100,00 cash prize, but they also won the chance for a five-day exclusive immersion on October 2017 in ASUS Taiwan under the Research and Development AMAX Department.

For 2nd place, Team Studio 3 won P75,000. Based in Makati, Team Studio 3 is a group of game developers from KLab Cyscorpions, inc. Their “kwARto” application let users view rooms and personalize them however they want, serving as an application that can solve the problems on lifestyle and design.

In 3rd place, Team ImaginAR, a team from UP Diliman and Los Baños that established Quezon City’s ImagineAR mobile games company was rewarded with P50,000. Developing the “EngineAR” application as an AR app on engineering and transport, it allowed users to visualize and design their vehicle.

A celebration for going beyond the confines of reality, this event is aimed to empower the new generation of app developers to make applications that can help the country progress even further. The hackathon isn’t the end of the search for groundbreaking applications, though.

“The hackathon is only one way to help Filipinos understand this new kind of technology present today.” Su says, “Fans and enthusiasts can expect more efforts from ASUS Philippines to support AR and VR efforts spearheaded by industry leaders, Google Developer 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.”

The Zenfone AR is also already available for pre-ordering starting July 7th to 16th.

Pre-ordering now will get you the Zenfone AR alogn with its exclusive bundle of the ZenPower Ultra, exclusive Zenfone AR Clear Case and Tempered Glass, and the Zenfone AR VR Cardboard.