F.Y.I.

Guardian launches VR Cardboard app

The Guardian’s virtual reality experiences are now accessible through a new Guardian VR Cardboard app.

The announcement:

The Guardian’s virtual reality (VR) experiences – including the award-winning First Impressions and Sea Prayer, a collaboration with UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Khaled Hosseini brought to life in virtual reality using Tilt Brush – are now accessible to more people on both iOS and Android devices for the first time, with the launch of a new Guardian VR Cardboard app.

To celebrate, on Saturday 7 October, the Guardian will give away 97,000 Google Cardboard headsets to UK readers – with select copies of the Guardian and via theguardian.com – enabling more people than ever before to step inside the story and experience the Guardian’s award-winning VR journalism.

The giveaway marks a year since the Guardian created its dedicated VR team. Comprising expertise across editorial, digital, design and commercial teams, the Guardian has produced a series of VR experiences including the multi award-winning 6×9: a virtual experience of solitary confinement which places viewers inside a US solitary confinement prison cell and tells the story of the psychological damage that can ensue from isolation.

The Guardian will also launch its new VR project The Party – a virtual experience of autism to coincide with the giveaway. Based on an original concept by author Lucy Hawking, The Party puts viewers in the shoes of Layla, a 15-year old autistic girl at her mother’s surprise birthday party. Through the dramatised piece, viewers experience Layla’s attempts to deal with a stressful situation using the coping mechanisms she has devised to manage her anxiety.

Francesca Panetta, executive editor, virtual reality, Guardian News & Media said:

“The Guardian has always been at the forefront of digital innovation and since we launched our VR team a year ago we’ve created a series of immersive and impactful stories, marrying the Guardian’s experience of quality journalism with innovative storytelling.

“Through the launch of the Guardian VR Cardboard app we’re pleased to be able to share the unique encounters we have created with more people than ever before, giving them the opportunity to see the world from a different perspective and enabling them to become fully immersed in the experience.”

The below Guardian VR experiences are now available to view on Cardboard via the Guardian VR app.

  • 6×9 – A virtual experience of solitary confinement which places viewers in a US prison cell and tells the story of the psychological damage that can ensue from isolation.

  • Arctic 360 – After years of record temperatures, the Arctic is melting. This environmentally-friendly Arctic tour allows viewers to witness the consequences of human behaviour.

  • First Impressions – Using the latest research in neural development and colour vision in infants, this film allows viewers to experience and interact with the world from the point of view of a baby.

  • Limbo – There are approximately 31,500 asylum seekers in the UK waiting for a decision about their asylum status. This film enables viewers to experience what it is like to live in this period of limbo, waiting for a decision that will affect the rest of your life.

  • Sea Prayer – Inspired by the story of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, Khaled Hosseini, the novelist and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, has written an exclusive story brought to life in virtual reality using Tilt Brush, a tool for painting in a 3D space using virtual reality.

Source: Guardian Australia

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