During Develop: Brighton 2015, one of the major announcements to highlight the conference was that of the winner of a $20,000 virtual-reality-related prize from Epic Games and Wellcome Trust. The Big Data VR Challenge brought together five international teams to work on big data projects over four months and culminated in the announcement of the winner at Develop: Brighton.
The projects included various combinations of science, big data and 3D design, using tools and assets traditionally associated with game industry developers. Other major names in visualization with a deep game industry footprint, such as NVIDIA, have taken the expertise they built in the game industry and expanded into new spaces. So, it is no surprise to see Epic Games making high-profile moves to show off the versatility of its set of integrated tools outside of interactive entertainment.
Big Data VR Challenge winner and project
The winner of the Big Data VR Challenge was LumaPie, an international composite of creative studio Masters of Pie and 3D software development consultancy Lumacode, formed to visualize study results of environmental and genetic factors that have affected and altered the lives of more than 14,000 residents of Bristol (ALSPAC Children of the ’90s data).
During the development time, the team created a functional and scalable visualization of the study. For the purposes of the contest, the team leveraged the strengths of Unreal Engine 4 and VR to create an immersive environment from the data itself. Whether as a sole user or a team of users, anyone interacting with this data has full control of the VR space, enabling easier and immersive interaction.
Other Big Data VR Challenge participants
From the official press release, here’s a look at the other participants and projects:
“HammerheadVR on genome browsers — Hammerhead’s project compared fruit fly and human DNA, overlaying genomes in VR to show how the same genes across the two species can be mapped to discover which genetic markers potentially cause cancer.
Skip the Intro on the Casebooks Project — Skip the Intro created a calming and colorful solution for the Casebooks Project, guiding the user through interactive tunnels of light that illuminate connections and patterns.
Pi and Power on genome browsers — Pi and Power presented an intuitive way to interrogate genomics data through the use of head tracking, using motion to produce colorful patterns that correspond to variations of genetic parameters.
Opaque Multimedia on ALSPAC Children of the ’90s — Opaque Multimedia built a shared, collaborative environment utilizing virtual librarians (or “data buddies”) to analyze data from the Children of the ’90s genetics study.”