The Mixed Reality Challenge

The Mixed Reality Challenge

The Smartphone-Accessible, Augmented-Reality-Triggered, Internet-Connected, Gumball-Style Trinket and Charm Dispenser
The Smartphone-Accessible, Augmented-Reality-Triggered, Internet-Connected, Gumball-Style Trinket and Charm Dispenser

At the center of this challenge: a gumball machine. 

Actually a Smartphone-Accessible, Augmented Reality- and Gesture Sensor-Triggered, Internet-Connected, Open-Source, Toy Capsule Machine.

The idea: to use District Hall as a location to test out some on-the-edge concepts around Augmented Reality and Internet of Things.

The challenge was simple: Are you able use your smartphone (Android or Apple iPhone) to interact with augmented reality images around District Hall and discover the secret word to unlock a prize?

The catch: you had to use Augmented Reality, and a variety of other future-oriented technologies. 

In v1, the prize was dispensed by the gumball machine. 

The Challenge debuted in mid-March, 2018, at District Hall.  And it's still going on.

Here's the Challenge page on the District Hall site: Take the Mixed Reality Challenge at District Hall.


"Mixed Reality" is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.

I stole most of that definition from Wikipedia.

The term makes sense, when you think about it. It's a bigger bucket than just Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, or the Internet of Things. Mixed Reality is a combo deal: all those aforementioned realities mixed together. I would also add "maker"-influenced tech to the mix: boards like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi, addressable LEDs like NeoPixels, even 3D Printing and laser cutting. They are all melding together into a new reality stew. 

There's only one problem with Mixed Reality as a term: it's kind of buzzwordy. Microsoft really likes it. So does Magic Leap.  

But other, similar terms aren't much better. "Hybrid reality"? "Merged reality"?

Intel has apparently hoseyed that last one, judging from an expensive Google ad they bought for the term "mixed reality."  

(Update: "Cross Reality"  has also surfaced as a term. Similar idea, but it probably has the coolest shortcut labels of the entire bunch: "X-Reality" and "XR". More on this coming up.) 

"Mixed Reality" will have to do, for now. 

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