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F8: The Impact of VR in Nigeria

Nigeria is a country with a population of over 190 million people, many of which come from different cultures with different traditions and languages. Judith Okonkwo, founder of Imisi 3D speaks at F8 about the impact virtual reality (VR) has had on her country and what she hopes to accomplish in the future.

Okonkwo started her own company with only a VR-ready PC, a few reference books and a couple of headsets and set up shop on Lagos, Nigeria. She saw great potential in VR and an opportunity for Nigeria to get in on the ground floor of this emerging technology.

Her company, Imisi 3D, hoped to attract a diverse community to VR and augmented reality (AR), At the first VR showcase, the vast majority of attendees had never tried VR before. Since then, the company grew and hosted a VR Hackathon – the first such event in Nigeria. The challenge for those hackathon participants was to create something that could benefit education, healthcare or tourism.

One of the things that came from Imisi 3D and its VR showcase is a consultancy that uses VR to help show people what life is like for a child with Autism. This allows users to experience the kind of sensory overload that an autistic person can go through. Imisi 3D are also working on another VR app that helps people understand how best to communicate with an autistic person.

Okonkwo presented statistics showing that a large number of Nigerian children are not able to attend school. With this in mind, Imisi 3D believes that low-cost VR is a potential solution. A low-cost headset combined with a mobile phone and mobile broadband can open up many new possibilities for students in Nigeria.

Speaking of a local school, Okonkwo said it lacked many facilities that schools in Europe or the USA would take for granted, such as science labs. A VR headset would allow students to conduct experiments in VR, or visit places they might never otherwise be able to reach.

There are still challenges ahead, such as a need for relevant content for users all over the world, not just in Europe or the US and hardware needs to be accessible for all. Whatever the future holds for VR in education, VRFocus will continue to report upon it.