You settle into your swivel chair, don a virtual reality headset, push a button, and suddenly you’re far from LA. Maybe you’re feeding an elephant in Africa, breaking rocks in India, measuring the ice in Greenland, or testifying before Congress in Washington, DC.
For 10 or 15 minutes, you’re not just reading about a problem or watching it on TV. Instead, you experience that problem first hand – or at least, your brain thinks you do. Your heart races, your palms sweat, and your empathy grows for the people who face this situation every day. Neuroscience has shown that extended reality in all its forms (virtual, augmented, etc.) can actually re-wire the brain to believe you’ve walked in another’s shoes, and nothing creates empathy like a shared experience.
We believe in the storytelling power of extended reality for social change, which is why we’re debuting an unparalleled Immersive Arcade at Upswell — twelve carefully curated experiences drawn from a range of mission areas including environment, health, poverty, human rights, and more.
Outside the major film festivals like Sundance and Tribeca, it’s hard to find so many high-quality VR experiences all in one place. Our partners at the nonprofit Games for Change worked for months to secure rights from some of the leading VR producers, including Participant Media, Picture This, and the National Film Board of Canada. In many cases, producers will be on hand to hear your reactions, answer questions, and talk about the storytelling power of extended reality in the nonprofit sector.
With trained docents at each station and easy digital signup, you’ll want to sample every experience during your three days at Upswell. In fact, you may find it hard to leave the Immersive Arcade at all!