Crop Dusters Win Ultimate Coder IV: VR Challenge

By Karissa R. Pagliero, Published: 12/05/2018, Last Updated: 12/05/2018

Innovative Training Simulator for an Agricultural Sprayer Takes Top Honors in a Field of Eight Intel® Software Innovator Teams

An ingenious virtual reality application for farming—a VR simulator to train agricultural sprayer operators—earned Team Crop Dusters top honors in the Ultimate Coder IV: VR Challenge, an invitational competition cosponsored by Intel and Microsoft*.

Eight finalist teams consisting of Intel® Software Innovators competed to create the most compelling commercial VR applications, ultimately placing their project in the Microsoft Store – all in eight weeks. Throughout the competition, teams posted their progress on Developer Mesh, an online community where developers share projects, collaborate with others and find and follow world-class innovators.

VR Crop Sprayer Simulator side-by-side with Actual Crop Sprayer

A Simulator Built with Real Tractor Hardware

Crop Duster TeamTeam Crop Dusters, hailing from Dubuque, Iowa, took the overall prize for their VR simulator of self-propelled agricultural sprayers for safety training. Using actual sprayer components obtained from John Deere, their VR apparatus simulates being in an actual cab when maneuvering a 110-foot sprayer boom. Crop Dusters even took their proof-of-concept simulator to a local farming cooperative for hands-on feedback and direction.

For their efforts, team members Nathan Greiner, Alex Schuster, Jameel Kelley, and Timothy Hoffman will share the $10,000 award.

Ultimate Coder IV: VR Challenge judges also recognized standout contributions from runner-up teams as well. During the eight-week competition, each team shared its inspirations, hurdles and solutions in regular blog posts and videos, with prizes awarded for the quality and creativity of their reportage. The $5,000 prize for Best Video Series was awarded to Team Flying Turtles, which posted clips introducing their project, TraIND40. They built an advanced VR training and maintenance system based on VR that focuses on the growing need for advanced technical skills in Industry 4.0. Their weekly progress videos demonstrated the power of voice, motion controllers, and mixed reality in their development process.

In the Best Blog Series category, judges awarded the $5,000 prize to VR Monkeys, for chronicling the development of their virtual investigator exercise, in which participants act as crime scene investigators to find clues, examine evidence in a virtual lab, and identify potential suspects.

However, the judges were so impressed by Zenva Sky, for their application “Learn to Code in VR: An Immersive Computer Science Adventure,” that they created a new prize of $3,000 for Best Blog Series Runner-up. The team from Australia employs VR to teach the fundamentals of abstract computer science in a highly visual, interactive VR environment.

VR in Everything from Organic Chemistry to Automotive Retail

Other participating teams and their projects in Ultimate Coder IV: VR Challenge included:

Eastern Indigos, “Learning Organic Chemistry the VR Way,” combining VR and mixed reality to simplify how organic chemistry is taught, making it visually appealing.

CheikiDinga, “Dream It, See It, Own It,” an immersive VR game to assist car buyers preview car features, pricing and custom options. It was also designed to help car dealerships attract customers, drive revenues and capture feedback.

Vitruvian VR, “Wing Suit Simulator,” recreating the 360o experience of winged flight. A user controls two rings and three motors by manipulating a pair of joysticks for a three-axis rotation. The Vitruvian team name was derived from the iconic multi-armed Leonardo Da Vinci drawing.

Learn ‘o’ Sys, “Using VR to Teach Human Anatomy,” using VR to teach children about the body.

In exchange for their participation, all Challenge teams received an Intel® NUC 8 VR machine, an  HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset Developer Edition, and a $4,000 participation award if they successfully completed all eight blogs, videos, and a functional proof of concept for judging.

From concept to completion, see how all these Ultimate Coder IV: VR Challenge projects came together: follow their week-by-week progress.

Elevate Your VR Expertise

Sharpen your VR developer skills with tutorials, watch real-world applications in action, follow inspirational coder challenges and more, all on the Virtual Reality home page of the Intel® Developer Zone (Intel® DZ). Share your experiences with peers in developer forums, and learn tips and tools for integrating VR into projects. Intel Virtual Reality is where you’ll find the latest and most extreme compute-intensive hardware based on Intel® technology. Use this resource to explore VR applications in a world of applications.

Learn More About the Intel® Software Innovator Program

Check out the latest innovator updates, get the program overview and learn about innovator benefits. For inspiration or to start sharing your work, join our community collaboration platform Developer Mesh.

Interested in More Information? Contact Program Manager Wendy Boswell.

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