The Second VR Diversity Initiative Grows Bigger and More Ambitious

28 participants from under-represented groups attended.

Since the VR Diversity Initiative (VRDI) 2018 campaign was announced in March the not-for-profit initiative that VRFocus started last year has been proving to be successful and popular. The VRDI is a one-day free workshop for individuals from under-represented groups to learn how to create 360 film, virtual reality (VR) and in the case of this event mixed reality (MR) by industry professionals. The last workshop was over-subscribed, with over half of them being women.

VRDI_DOUBLME
James E. Marks teaches participants about mixed reality.

The second VR Diversity Initiative was hosted by Plexal, an innovation centre that was previously known as the press centre of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and proved to be a great location to host VRDI. The workshop was kicked-off by Nina Salomons the Lead of the VR Diversity Initiative who showcased a little video demonstrating the use case applications of extended reality (XR) technologies. The following speakers then discussed their spaces, support and educational courses that offered various ways of support for the candidates.

Nina Salomons – Lead of VR Diversity Initiative

Tom Messett – Head of Marketing at Plexal

John Holder – Realities Centre

Carl Smith – Ravensbourne

Ana Tudor – University of Arts London (UAL)

Nneka Chukwurah – Economy of Hours ECHO

With twenty-eight participants attending the second VR Diversity Initiative and all of them coming from under-represented backgrounds, it showcases that there is indeed a huge interest from individuals from creative backgrounds and those with disabilities. Participants chose the areas they were most interested in and were then assigned workshops to partake in for the rest of the day.

Unity workshop leaders included Kyaw Tun Sein, Sam Perrin and Harvey Ball. Each participant created an interactive VR experience with an HTC Vive and VR ready laptop (provided by BlueHire).

Mixed Reality was taught by James Marks and Chris Skoda, from DoubleMe. DoubleMe provide a 3D capture system called the HoloPortal, that converts 2D videos into dynamic 3D models in real-time for various 3D content markets. Participants in this workshop were also playing around with livestreaming 360 film, haptic feedback vests and were taught about the HoloPortal and MR.

David Betteridge, Peter McLaughin, Asha Easton and Jannicke Mikkelsen taught the 360 film workshop. All participants learned about the basics of 360 filmmaking and all created a rough VR film by the end of the day.

The end of the day had workshop leaders conclude what they were teaching and participants showcasing their experiences. All 360 film participants created a rough 360 VR finished film. From documentaries to fiction pieces they were all showcased on Samsung Gear VR’s for everybody to experience. Various VR Unity experiences were created from rock-climbing games to an experience that included giant penguins, these were also all available to be experienced on HTC Vive’s at the end of the day. Finally DoubleMe showcased the HoloPortal and gave all participants the opportunity to interact with Carl Smith who was located at Ravensbourne University during the experience. To look at a recap of the day watch the video below.

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