The HTC Vive initiative to raise awareness about the United Nations sustainable development goals, already has the first winners who will receive part of the funds earmarked.
HTC has announced the first winners of the initiative VR for Impact, a program offering $10 million to drive virtual reality content and technologies that create positive change and impact in support of the United Nations sustainable development goals. To celebrate the Earth Day, which is this Saturday, April 22, the three selected projects face objectives such as climate or lack of food. The winners are SpaceVR, a satellite with a virtual reality camera to be launched this summer; Tree, an experience about deforestation; and The Extraordinary Honey Bee, a work to raise awareness about the declining bee population.
“We believe that virtual reality and the immersive experiences it offers have the potential to positively impact the greatest challenges facing humanity,” he says Rikard Steiber, president of Viveport. “We welcome the first winners of VR for Impact who will present VR as a powerful tool to raise awareness about the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations, and what better way to commemorate Earth Day than to unveil these projects with three unique visions to help the planet.”
SpaceVR will launch its satellite, Overview 1, in June this year, allowing users to experience space in a unique way with 360º video. “We share the vision with Vive, virtual reality has the power to immerse and impress us like no other means to make the world a better place,” he explains Ryan Holmes, CEO of SpaceVR.
Tree is a haptically responsive experience, created by New Reality Company and selected at Sundance and Tribeca, that makes users share the tragic fate of a rainforest tree. Highlighting the heartbreaking reality of deforestation, one of the main contributors to global warming. “VR storytelling is the key to raising awareness of many of the challenges facing the Earth,” he says Milica Zec, co-director of Tree.
The Extraordinary Honey Bee is a joint project of Häagen-Dazs, Reach Agency and SPECTACLE, that makes us a bee, seeing all the corresponding size to learn the risks faced by a colony, and the possible solutions to avoid their disappearance. “We are excited to collaborate with Vive, not only because of the innovative technology and their valuable audience, but also because of their ideals and their shared belief in harnessing the power of VR to make a real impact,” he concludes Orchid Bertelsen, head of digital innovation at Nestlé USA.
HTC has also announced that there will be more winners for the VR for Impact program and that these will be announced at the end of the year.