It’s hard to miss the buzz around virtual reality. The technology is constantly making headlines – from the time it emerged as a contender to help reconstruct Notre Dame’s famed cathedral, to when the NCAA utilized it to identify head injuries and concussions.
Last year, National Geographic’s Washington D.C. museum opened the doors of its VR theater experience, the city’s first. The opening marked a milestone in VR’s growing influence on how we tell stories about our changing planet. While the technology itself has been around for decades (the first headset was invented in 1968 by computer scientist Ivan Sutherland and his student, Bob Sproull), it is now emerging as a tool to solve today’s biggest challenges and, increasingly, as a vehicle for environmental storytelling.
To further explore this trend, we invited a multitude of storytellers to participate in our inaugural Climate Story Lab, hosted in partnership with Doc Society. Here, we heard from two exciting new VR projects: Breathe, a mixed-reality application that uses body movement and breath to immerse participants in the story of air in our environment; and Swampscapes, a journey to remote regions of the Everglades.
Inspired by the potential of these stories, we’ve gathered a handful of insights on how VR can enhance the efforts of environmental storytellers and advance the climate movement.