African developers invited to participate in Metathon

Social media giant Meta has opened applications for its augmented reality (AR) /virtual reality (VR) Africa Metathon programme, run in partnership with immersive tech firms Imisi 3D and BlackRhino VR.

The AR/VR Africa Metathon is a series of programs and activations under the Meta global XR fund aimed at supporting African XR talent to build innovative solutions that demonstrate various use cases of the metaverse in Africa.

XR is an umbrella term used for virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, as well as all future realities such technology might bring.

All developers, programmers, UI/UX designers, animators, storytellers, professionals and students interested in participating in the 12-week training can register for the opportunity to share their innovative work in AR/VR.

Phil Oduor, policy programs lead for Africa at Meta, says: “The AR/VR Africa Metathon is an opportunity to demonstrate how artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality technologies that have been around for decades are core to the future of the metaverse and what Africans are building in the industry.

“The XR Programs and Research Fund is a two-year $50 million investment in programs and external research focused on building the metaverse responsibly. Through this fund, we are collaborating with industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, non-profits and academic institutions to determine how to build these technologies responsibly.”

The AR/VR Metathon will feature three major components, including a training programme, an Africa-wide hackathon which will take place across 16 countries in Africa physically and open to virtually everyone, followed by an intensive bootcamp to further develop solutions, notes Meta.

These components will run from mid-August to April 2023.

Last year, Facebook changed its name to Meta, and introduced the company’s metaverse strategy, billed as the “next frontier of the social media platform, which seeks to create an embodied internet” where users interact and live in an immersive experience and are not just viewers.

Judith Okonkwo, founder of Imisi 3D & AR/VR Africa adds: “Six years after our first hackathon, and following subsequent events in over 28 countries across the continent, we are especially thrilled to be partnering with Meta and BlackRhino VR for the 2022 edition .

“Working with partners in 16 countries, this is our biggest and most ambitious event yet, providing even greater access for XR. In addition to physical events in these countries, we welcome participants across the continent who will be able to learn and hack virtually.”

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