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VR for Impact: change the world through virtual reality

In January 2017, Vive announced it's VR for Impact initiative in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. For those that may be unfamiliar, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals set forth by the UN to transform the world. They focus on crucial targets that humankind must strive towards in order to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure peace in all parts of the world.

The goals are as such:

Vive's VR for Impact program aims to show how VR can make a positive impact and inspire change. It began as a $10 million dollar grant ­­fund pledged by Vive to drive the development of such VR content So what could this look like? On the VR for Impact website, several excellent example experiences are outlined:

  • Understand everyone. Literally walk a mile in another person’s shoes. Experience war zones, celebrations, life, death and everything in-between. Creating empathy for every human experience is a new frontier in VR.

  • Educate through experience. Bring history to life in the most immersive way yet possible. Place people inside math equations. Unlock the microscopic world. Witness the Big Bang, then rewind and let it happen again.

  • Work in new ways. See your industrial project from inside and out. Collaborate with colleagues, going way beyond the whiteboard in real time and real space. Open up the ‘sharing economy’ in whole new ways.

  • Travel to the impossible. Get closer to ancient ruins than you ever could in real life. Travel instantly to any point on the globe, or the solar system, or beyond. Experience environments inhospitable for human life. Go on safari as one of the animals.

  • Make medicine become magic. Visualize the human body at a definition never witnessed. Operate from anywhere. Bring clarity to the confused, sight to the blind and relief to those in pain.

  • Reshape the planet. Warn the world of climate change, then show them the possibilities of a fossil-fuel free existence.

The initial selections in the program were:

Tree - An immersive experience that highlights the issue of deforestation in the rainforest.

SpaceVR - The first VR satellite, the Overview 1, which will launch later this year on Space X. Once in orbit, SpaceVRwill stream video that users can experience in full virtual reality or as 360-degree video.

The Extraordinary Honeybee - Highlighting the risks that bee colonies are facing and what can be done, this experience sees users shrink down to the size of a bee.

As educators we have our own responsibility to empower students withe knowledge and appreciation of the SDGs and Vive have now expanded the focus of the VR for Impact initiative to make it easier for non-developers to contribute and collaborate on ideas and projects. David Romero, Technical Specialist at Vive, highlighted this new development in the program:

"VR for Impact is evolving towards a community oriented framework that enables a greater level of transparency, participation, and community-based collaboration."

This evolution of the VR for Impact program has begun with the creation of a dedicated forum for those interested in collaborating on ideas that can generate change using VR. The forum can be accessed here or by clicking on the image above. Romero highlights the fact that this is not just a space for developers:

"We encourage participation from all walks of life and experience levels. The VR for Impact Community is a space for creators and humanitarians to connect, collaborate, and pool together knowledge and resources. Within this community, you will be able to connect and engage with like-minded individuals and organizations from the global impact community."

Whether you are an educator looking for VR resources to transform a project focused on the Sustainable Development Goals you have an idea for a project and are looking for collaborators, the new VR for Impact forum is definitely a good place to start. Let's empower each other and in turn empower our students so that the world they grow up in is one of peace, health and happiness.

#HTC #VR #Vive #SDG

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