We were delighted to see elderly people enjoying the HTC Vive last week, but watching kids use Google Cardboard and 360 video to lose their fear of the water might go one step further.
The Swedish Swimming Federation recently revealed this new experience with the help of energy provider, E.ON. It’s designed to help the one in five Swedish children that can’t swim, by getting them to face their fears directly without having to even get their feet wet. It features members of the Swedish swimming team encouraging the viewer to join them in a pool, constantly reassuring them and asking them to join in. You can watch the swimmers from underwater, and even complete a length yourself.
It’s hard to fault a 360 video that’s legitimately trying to do some good. The stitching is a little rough in places, but that’s nothing more than a nitpick. You might also find the experience works better for you without subtitles; just know the swimmers are basically telling you that you can do it.
It might seem a little cheesy to someone who can already swim, but make sure to watch the second video just below to see how effective it really is. It’s hard not to crack a smile as you watch kids that are afraid of the water take a deep, brave breath and virtually sink below it. It allows them to sink below the surface and discover that there’s nothing to fear from the water. Want proof? The kid’s in the video are lucky enough to meet the swimmers and join them in the pool at the end.
For any Swedish readers that want to give this a try for themselves, E.ON is giving away specially-made Cardboard VR headsets for free right now. Once you get your kit all you need do it grab your iOS or Android smartphone, open the YouTube app and find this video. From there, hit the Cardboard icon, slot it into your headset and you’re good to go.
This is just one example of how VR can be used to genuinely help people and make the world a better place. Another such example surfaced earlier today, when we heard that director Kathryn Bigelow was making her own VR documentary.
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