I grew up in India and remember my first visit to the Birla Planetarium in Hyderabad when I was in middle school. I was fascinated beyond comprehension when I saw a projection of solar system on the roof. I used that as an inspiration to build a model of solar system. However, my primary motivation was to find a way to connect with my nephews who are growing up in India right now (aged 15 & 16). Thanks to this Hackathon, I was able to jump on calls everyday with them and teach them about Lensstudio, AR, planetary science and most importantly deepen our bond as family.
What it does
It projects a model of solar system into any space and you a voice over narrates facts about the solar system, the sun and other planets using text from Nasa's website.
How we built it
We engaged in several Lens Studio features starting with the world lens, and then used scripts to add voice overs, UI, VFX effects, audio and played with several other features to learn them.
Challenges we ran into
My biggest challenge was the time difference. I live and work in Miami at Florida International University. We have a 11-hour time difference and I wanted to make sure we are meeting at least twice a day so I had to do a lot of adjustments in both our lives but in the end it turned into a habit and we want to continue learning AR together and build the future on it.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The fact that we were able to learn it and not just finish it. Both my nephews now know AR and the power it has to unlock their imagination. The hardest thing was not to run away on tangents and stay true the course but now have several other projects we want to work together. Honestly the true prize of this Lensathon for me was this amazing time we had over the last two months working and learning.
What we learned
We learned how co-learning a new technology can bring people together. We learned how Lensstudio works and we made a note of several features such as ML that we want to experiment with. We learned what the world out there is doing with AR. And we learned about how SNAP is spearheading an AR revolution by engaging so many "non-tech" users and providing them with tools to build fascinating worlds.
What's next for Solar Expedition
A LOT of things. We want to change the UI/UX. We want to add more facts for each planet. We want to bring true scale to the sizes and orbit speeds. We want to build custom assets for the solar system, add asteroids and comets and major events and keep expanding it into a complete tool to learn about this magical system tucked away in one corner of a random galaxy in space. And a LOT more of family bonding time with my nephews. Thanks for enabling that.