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VR for Empathy panel discussion

Updated: Dec 10, 2019


On September 15th I held the most recent #CPDinVR session inside Engage. This was a special panel discussion about the power of VR to elicit empathy in users. I was joined by David Romero (Technical Specialist for HTC Vive), Dominic Eskofier (Head of VR EMEIA for NVIDIA ) and Sean Gilroy (Head of Cognitive Design at The BBC) as well as an audience of around 30 other people from all corners of the globe.

Whilst Engage is still in Alpha, exporting recordings when I am hosting the session is proving a little tricky (though we did get this one last time when the team at Immersive VR hosted.) As such after reviewing the recordings, I decided against exporting anything as the clips were a little erratic and didn't do the session justice. Here are a few images from the session though (including some from our traditional "after party" fun exploring Engage!)

I also wanted to share three key elements from the session that relate to each of my guests.

The VR for Impact Programme

David from Vive shared some great information about the VR for Impact programme and how it has expanded beyond just being a developers' grant. The VR for Impact forum allows educators to connect with people working in many different areas of VR and find ways to collaborate. It's actually where Dominic and I first connected! David also discussed the three projects which have already benefited from the programme and how they relate to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. I absolutely love the idea of the Tree app - which actually puts you in the shoes (roots?) of a tree. It's currently only available at special events like festivals but a home version is apparently on the way. Here's a sneak peak at just a part of the experience:

I've already written a pretty lengthy piece about the VR for Impact programme which you can read here.

Dominic Eskofier's TEDx Talk

Dominic had a few connection problems during the event but he was able share details about his acclaimed TED Talk on using VR to make humankind better. Dominic is currently working on an Immersive Education program for Africa which he hopes to share very soon.

Below you can watch his TED Talk in full:

The BBC Cape Initiative film

Probably the most memorable moments of the event came shortly after the panel discussion itself. Using the 4K 360 room inside Engage, the entire group was able to experience the BBC Cape Neurodiverse Immersive experience that Sean had discussed earlier in the session. This is without a doubt one of the most powerful examples of VR for empathy that I have seen - a sentiment echoed by many of the delegates. The film places you in the shoes of someone with autism, to experience how they see the world around them and how they are affected by an intense office-based scenario.

Based on the experiences of Sean’s colleague Leena, who is actually is autistic, it is genuinely shocking to come to the realisation that people experience this every day. How many students are sitting in classrooms right now, seeing the world like this and thinking that this is how everyone experiences the world around them?

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended the session and especially to my three esteemed guests.

Find out more about the #CPDinVR events by clicking the link on the menu at the top of the page.

#CPDinVR #empathy #Vive #HTC

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