Back in January we reported on a new initiative from HTC Vive called VR for Impact. The company announced that it was devoting $10 million to this program, which aims to fund positive VR content and technologies. Today, the program’s first grant recipients have been announced.
Fittingly, these new projects all tie into tomorrow’s Earth Day, showcasing how VR can be used to make a positive impact on climate change.
First up is SpaceVR, and it’s an ambitious-sounding project. Rather than a simple 360 video to raise awareness of climate change on the planet, SpaceVR will launch a VR satellite, named Overview 1, into space. Launching later this year by Space X, the satellite will stream 360 degree video. It will allow people to put on a VR headset and find themselves not in a virtual recreation of space but the real thing. Space X also plans to launch 360 satellites across the solar system.
Next up is Tree from New Reality. This unique experience uses haptic feedback to transform viewers into a rainforest tree. Their arms become the branches and their body becomes the trunk. While that might seem like an initially pleasant experience, viewers will soon encounter the tragic circumstances that face the rain forests of our world. The experience is on display for the next week at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Finally, we have The Extraordinary Honey Bee, made in partnership between Reach Agency, Spectacle, and Häagen-Dazs. This piece looks at the shrinking bee population by letting viewers become one of the buzzing insects. The 360 video is set for release on VR headsets this June.
Each of these projects will be coming to Viveport in the near future. HTC’s grants have been announced the same week that Oculus opened applications for its second VR for Good launchpad week. Still, a little competition never hurts, especially when it’s for the good of the world.