Virtual reality’s been the stuff of science fiction for a long time. But now it’s the new kid on the block in the tech scene – but it’s not just a fad! Already people are doing inspiring and life-changing things with it. Take a look at some of our favourite VR stories.
1. Clouds Over Sidra – Gabo Arora and Chris Milk
This truly powerful VR film tells the story of Sidra, a 12-year old Syrian girl who has spent the last 18 months in Zaatari Refugee Camp. Zaatari is home to 130,000 Syrians fleeing violence and war. Children make up half the camp’s population. The documentary is a collaboration between the UN Millennium Campaign (UNMC), UNICEF Jordan, Samsung and Vrse.works. It was created by Gabo Arora and Chris Milk.
Clouds over Sidra has done some real good in the world. It’s helped UNICEF raise $3.8 billion for the refugee crisis. That’s double what they projected!
Make sure you watch Chris Milk’s TED talk, where he speaks about the potential of VR to build empathy.
2. World War Two veteran uses VR for first time – Twine
For Remembrance Day, we helped 91-year-old Chelsea Pensioner, Frank Mouqué, become the first World War Two veteran to use virtual reality technology to return to a town that he helped liberate.
Partnering with the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the iconic Chelsea Pensioners, we asked our community of videographers, editors, musicians, producers, and other creatives from around the world to collaborate on this project.
With the help of Mutiny Media, Paul Saunderson, and other creative talents, we transported Frank to the town of Armentières, France, which he fondly remembers, 72 years after helping liberate it from Nazi occupation in the weeks following D-Day. The virtual reality experience we created for Frank features a tour of present-day Armentières, a subtitled interview with the town’s Mayor during which the French dignitary virtually presents Frank with the town’s official medal, conversations between two elderly residents on their memories of occupation and liberation, and a group of schoolchildren expressing gratitude by singing a traditional local nursery rhyme
3. 6×9: a virtual experience of solitary confinement – The Guardian
6×9 is a powerful exploration of one of the biggest injustices in the US Justice System – the use of solitary confinement. The Guardian explain: “What’s it like to spend 23 hours a day in a cell measuring 6×9 feet for days, weeks, months or even years? 6×9 is the Guardian’s first virtual reality experience, which places you inside a US solitary confinement prison cell and tells the story of the psychological damage that can ensue from isolation.”
4. On the Brink of Famine – FRONTLINE and The Brown Institute for Media Innovation.
“On the Brink of Famine” takes you inside South Sudan in 360° to meet people battling a man-made hunger crisis. It lets you experience the front lines of a crisis we can normally only hear about. Evan Wexler, technical director and cinematographer told ARS Technica: “Because so few people actually get to go to these remote areas, it’s a good candidate for VR. Virtual reality is a medium that can take you places that you might not get to go to otherwise.”
5. Here comes the bride: the world’s first VR wedding
Ok, so this one hasn’t happened yet – but it will certainly be life-changing! On May 25th, 2017, bride and groom Elisa Evans and Martin Shervington will put on their HMDs so that their guests around the globe can join them on their big day. Social platform AltspaceVR will be helping the happy couple with the the technical side…And on top of that, Community Manager and Social VR Content Creator Lisa Kotecki will be officiating the wedding from 3000 miles away!
6. The Source | charity: water VR
Charity: Water builds water projects around the world, giving thousands access to clean water. This VR film tells the story of 13 year old girl Selam and her family as they get clean water for the very first time.
The New York non-profit showcased this moving film at their annual fundraising gala. It helped the charity raise a staggering $2.4 million that night alone.
7. “Beginning” – Pencils of Promise
Pencils of Promise is an international children’s education charity. They build schools in Ghana, Guatemala and Laos, to help children there to learn to read and write. Immersive media company RYOT traveled to Toklokpo, Ghana with PoP to step inside a classroom before and after a PoP school build, getting a firsthand look at how a quality education can change a child’s life. The inspiring VR film helped PoP raise $1.9 million at their gala.