VRTogether, a nonprofit initiative, has launched the platform with the aim of encouraging VR for the greater good. Rather than finance projects – in the first initiative of its kind – VRTogether brings together a community of people to leverage this medium to effect change.
Via the website, which has similar functionality to a social network, people can connect and engage with each other. Organisations and individuals looking for production studios, research partners, ideas or advice will be able to post their work and those with the expertise needed can offer help.
VRTogether’s Board of Advisors includes Nonny de la Peña, CEO of Emblematic Group and fondly referred to as ‘the Godmother of virtual reality’; Mária Rakušanová, director of VR and New Media at Raindance Film Festival; Catherine Day, head of AR/VR at m ss ng p eces and Sol Rogers, CEO/founder of Rewind.
The platform launches with a live project from Whales.org. Speaking about the project Chris Butler-Stroud, chief executive at WDC said: “Whales and dolphins are smart, powerful, and highly mobile creatures, and an existence in a barren concrete tank, away from their family and with little room to swim is cruel and no substitute for the ocean. By using virtual reality, we can create an experience that enables people to see life from a whale or dolphin’s eyes, and can educate them about the sad contrast between life in a concrete tank and life in the ocean. VR is a great tool to get the public involved with the issue and brings us a step closer to stopping whale and dolphin captivity for good. By signing up to VRTogether you can help us to make a real change through technology.’”
Virtual reality can change what a person sees, how they think, what they feel and how they behave. VR has been used to treat conditions including autism, PTSD, depression, anxiety and promote recovery in paraplegics. VRTogether aims to encourage people to utilise this power for positive social impact.
Catherine Day, head of AR/VR at Missing Pieces and board advisor to VRTogether said: “Together, we all recognise VR has the potential to do what many hoped the first film camera would do – make it impossible to turn a blind eye to suffering, injustice, and ignorance. There’s no way to turn a blind eye in VR, and because it is consumed digitally, and mostly via mobile, we can immediately take action before the transient moment of inspiration to do so has expired. Cause-based VR was the first genre to prove the power of the medium to the masses, the first to win awards, and if we continue to believe in one another’s dreams and help each other to realize them… pro-social and environmental VR will continue to sustain and advance immersive storytelling. The way VR Together is wedding the inspired community of conscious VR makers together is unparalleled because it has built the infrastructure we need to support one another in our endeavors to create impactful work at this powerful nexus of tech and media.”
Daryl Atkins, founder of VRTogether and creative director at Rewind urges people to get involved: “Virtual Reality technology provides a compelling new way of telling stories and engaging people. The stories that need telling the most are often the most difficult to get off the ground. We felt that amongst the day-to-day commercial projects that helped create the industry, we had a social responsibility to give something back to the wider community. We’re asking people to invest a little time to create content which has the power to make a difference. The infrastructure has been built, now it needs to be populated.”