February 18, 2019

“You have chosen to eat a lot of red meat.  If the whole world ate like you, we would emit fourteen hundred gigatons of Carbon Dioxide per year…”  Or so you would learn by playing the Feed Stampede experiences created during the Reality of Global Climate Change mixed reality hackathon.  Feed Stampede, Hotline and City of Tress were just three of the experiences created during the weekend of Feburary 8-9 2019 during the second annual hackathon event.  Technical mentor Max Payson enthused at the end “this is the best hackathon I’ve ever experienced!”  The small, intimate scale of event along with the strong support and critical theme made for a good experience for all involved.  

The 50 registered participants were provided with data sets detailing facts related to the impacts of climate change and access to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies.  AR and VR experiences can be grouped under the broader term of mixed reality (XR).  Aided by a team of mentors, participants had 24 hours to develop an idea, a plan and build a prototype of an mixed reality experience that communicated these facts in an effective way. 

Yale’s Center for Collaborative Arts and Media’s (CCAM) facilities at 149 York Street provided the ideal setting for the event.  CCAM has 6 permanent VR work spaces, with additional mobile units that were set up for the hackathon.  It also has digital workstations, motion capture, audio recording and other tools which the teams put to good use.  Technical and climate change mentors were on hand to work with the teams.  They included staff and faculty from participating Yale groups, as well as staff from local firms The Nature Conservancy and SphereGen, as well as ESRI with geo mapping tools and Magic Leap with their AR headset. 

A woman working on her laptop.

Winning projects were selected in three areas with one overall winner.  Below is a listing of all the team projects.   The event was made possible through the contributions and hard work of our campus partners, sponsors and advisory committee.  They are also listed below.  Many thanks for their support!  For details on the event visit http://climatevr.yale.edu

TEAM NAME:  Firefighters

  • PROJECT:  Hotline – Stop the spread of wildfires.  The experience includes audio from actual wildfire-related 911 calls.  The number of first is based on actual wildfire statistics.  The experience takes place over several years in which the number of fires increases as the weather patters have shifted. 
  • Members:  Robert Gerdisch, Jack Wesson, Winter Willoughby
  • Prize:  Overall winner and Best creation of an Empathetic Experience

TEAM NAME:  Green Team

  • PROJECT:  City of Trees – Plant trees to reduce CO2.  The player is presented with a city environment with gradually worsening climate factors.  The player collects seeds and plants them.  As the tree coverage grows the climate factors improve.
  • Members:  Chris Blake, Andrew Fulop, Yujun Pan, Dev Soni, Jarrod Osofs, Kene Umelo
  • Prize:  Best Illustration of Impact on the Built Environment

TEAM NAME:  The Herd

  • PROJECT:  Feed Stampede – How does food choice impact climate change.  The player selects a meal choice and takes it to their table.  Outside the window they see a verdant landscape which changes based on their food selection.  A narrator spells out the statistical impacts of their meal while the verdant landscape alters in kind.
  • Members:  Jonathan Koss, Phoebe Mankiewicz, Mandi Pretorius, Yihana von Ritter,  Noah Shapiro, Diego Ellis Soto
  • Prize:  Best Use of Facts and Figures

TEAM NAME:    DDL       

  • PROJECT:  Global Choices – Save a city from being submerged
  • Members:  TC Chakraborty, Britta Dorsen, Andrew Feierman, Nadia Irwanto, David Paolella, Yi Yeo

TEAM NAME:  Team Alarmed

  • PROJECT:  Carbon Capture – Player flies around capturing CO2
  • Members:  Ammar Al-zouabi, Zhinan Chen, Jinny Choi, Ariana Parenti, Xinran Wang


  • PROJECT:  Planetary Metabolisms:  Photosynthesis & Combustion
  • Members:  Phyllis Mugazda, Martin E. Wainstein, Tianshu Zhao

Yale organizers:  Yale Center for Business and the Environment, Yale Center for Collaborative Arts and Media, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, Center for Ecosystems in Architecture at Yale, Data-Driven Yale, Information Technology Services, TSAI Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale

Sponsors:  Connection.com, HP, ESRI, Magic Leap, The Nature Conservancy Connecticut, SphereGen

Advisory Committee:  Justin Berry; Caitlin Harder; Franz Hartl; Sophie Janaskie; Naomi Keena; Jennifer Marlon; Jon Ozaksut; Randall Rode; Martin Wainstein; Amy Weinfurter