What is the future of impact journalism? How do you activate the audience of the future?

XR offers a whole new way to connect with visceral experience.

Experience the future effects of climate change as Boston streets flood around you in a hurricane super-storm.

What it does

Rising Tide is an way to experience a futuristic means of consuming news and media. Our focus for the media and experience is to educate viewers on the future effects of climate change. The viewer is alerted to a news update and can view the article, inside the article they are able to experience a flooding scenario in both AR and VR to put real life context to the large scale problems threatening our planet.

How we built it

We centered the experience around the extremely rare, unique, and powerful Varjo XR1 to make a unique mixed reality experience.

We added ContactCI haptic Gloves and a Tesla Suit jacket to add sensory immersion to the experience.



We sought to create a massive scale mixed reality scene all the way to the horizon. To do this we used geodata from Mapbox to create a world scale storm out of the window of the MIT media lab conference center.

Challenges we ran into

Very few computers run the XR1, we had to try a dozen laptops and workstations over a day and a half to find a computer that could fully run the headset's displays, cameras, and sensors. This set us back for 1/3 of the hack.

The nature of Unity's IDE makes it very hard to collaborate on engineering and design. We had to do significant rework to get all of our work into prefabs that could be integrated on and combined into a single code base and experience.

The Varjo XR1 is extremely hard to optimize because it takes a very long time to load up and run. Debugger is even worse. XR1 dev speed is much slower than normal XR headsets.

Accomplishments that we are proud of

We completed all of the hardest parts of the concept we wanted build despite all of the extreme setbacks.

We are going to complete the project after the time frame of the hack because the XR1 is such a unique device and we have the opportunity to create something truly novel.

What we learned

The immense challenge forced us to learn new Unity, design, and teamwork skills.

We all learned the hard way how to work with alpha hardware and what our expectations should be.

We all had long hours to meet our schedule and were forced to learn how to be productive without sleep.

What's next for Rising Tide

We wish to rebuild the experience work anywhere in the world using cloud data.

We also want to bring Rising Tide to all major XR platforms.

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