We all are familiar with the term ‘Virtual Reality’ but are unsure about the vast application of the technology. The dominant virtual reality application of the technology is obviously in gaming, but there are various uses of virtual reality like in military, education, telecommunication, business, engineering, space etc; some of which are more challenging or unusual than others.
Recognizing the vast potential of the technology, HTC surfaced its vision to drive the use of the virtual reality to space sector. Last year, HTC announced its VR for Impact program, an initiative welcoming innovative ideas to make use of the technology in more efficient way. Under the program, the opportunity will be provided to develop the idea and bring it into existence through funding and supporting content and technologies to create the most powerful experiences to transform the world. The amount US$10 million dollars has been assigned for the program that support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
HTC has ended up with the search of its first round of winners, and the funding recipients of its VR for Impact program. The first funding recipients are the Space VR, the company founded in 2015 which will be launching the first VR satellite into space on the Space X shuttle later this year. Space VR is a VR platform that allows users to experience space through VR, providing the kind of the first-person experience impossible in the real world. It will let viewers exploring outer space from a satellite’s point of view. Upon entering the orbit, this VR satellite will be used to stream footage that can either be watched in full VR or as 360 – degree video.
The first VR for impact grant recipient was announced on 22nd April 2017, marking the celebration of the International Earth Day. HTC Vive president Rikard Steiber said that the immersive environment of the technology have the potential to impact the underlying biggest challenges that mankind is facing today. This Space VR will act as a powerful tool contributing towards raising awareness for the 17 UN sustainable development goals, with the unique vision of helping the planet.
Other projects that have won the first round of VR of Impact program are Tree and The Extraordinary Honey Bee. While Tree is a haptic-enhanced VR experience that will study the life and future of a rainforest tree, featuring the widespread pattern of deforestation and its impacts on the environment; The Extraordinary Honey Bee will investigate the honeybee population which is depleting at an alarming rate. These movies have been produced to make people aware of these rising problems and explaining its importance to the mankind.
All three projects will be available through HTC’s Vive port store for the Vive once they come to execution. While SpaceVR, Tree and The Extraordinary Honey Bee are the only first three grants awarded as part of the program which is a multi-year program with several grants per year. HTC will continue to announce additional recipients for 2017 throughout the year. We will keep you updated on virtual reality as soon as more comes in on it, so stay tuned with VR news and channel for all the latest news of VR world.