Virtual reality (VR) can be used for far more than videogames, and now the Arts and Humanities Research Council, along with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, have announced that they’ll be funding 32 brand new VR research projects. These will range from experiences looking to recreate the benefits of outdoor group singing, to exploring an immersive VR circus.
Of course, that’s not all. Another initiative looks to allow museum visitors to virtually read through ancient texts and more than would otherwise usually be off limits to the public.
The research will be carried out by a team comprised of academics, businesses and creative industry professionals to ensure the projects’ success. Each project has earned around £75,000 and will last between six and nine months, with all projects due to start before this April.
There are three key areas in which the chosen projects will be focusing on; memory, place and performance. Memory focuses on institutions such as museums and archives, place with, well, places, and performance will look at the kinds of experiences users can have in VR.
We have further details on five of the projects. The first is The Hills Are Alive, which looks at the benefits of natural environments and group singing.
XR Ciirkes combines circus performances, street art and performers with researchers to innovate and create emotionally impactful experiences.
Elsewhere the project is also working to create augmented browsing of books in historic libraries, immersive and inclusive music performances, and Virtual Holocaust Memoryscapes, which hopes to create immersive and spatial archives of the Bergen-Belsen and Neuengamme memorial sites.
Professor Andrew Chitty is the Arts and Humanities Research Council Economy Champion, and he’s impressed by the projects which have been pitched; “The unprecedented breadth and quality of applications for this call illustrates the extraordinary dynamism and expertise of practitioners applying immersive technologies to new narratives and experiences. As UK creative industries continue to excel, it is vital that they are positioned to make the most of the opportunities that arise from new technology. The 32 chosen research projects will help ensure that they’re ready to do just that.”
We should hear more about the 32 projects in the future. It’s exciting to see more organisations find more uses for VR, and we can’t wait to try them for ourselves. For more on these projects and the latest ways VR is improving the world, keep reading VRFocus.