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Ways to Participate in Black History Month Through XR

    Some of the most exciting XR experiences are those that help us to understand another person’s life and feelings. So, it makes sense that Black History Month is being celebrated in XR this year.

    AR and VR Experiences From VictoryXR

    VictoryXR creates augmented and virtual reality education tools. They’ve been keeping busy this year being involved in the Qualcomm XR Enterprise Program and launching the VictoryXR Academy with Pico Interactive . However, they still found time to create one VR and one AR Black History Month experience.

    Journey for Civil Rights in Augmented Reality

    VictoryXR’s Journey for Civil Rights in Augmented Reality is a mobile experience for Apple and Android devices. The experience is always available through VictoryXR but is currently on a special reduced rate for Black History Month.

    VictoryXR AR app Black History Month

    A school or group purchases the experience from Victory XR and receives posters depicting civil rights leaders. In addition to being inspiring pieces in their own right, these posters launch the AR experience through a free mobile app. When used with the app, the characters in the posters come to life to tell their stories. Civil Rights figures detailed in the experience include Dred Scott, Abraham Lincoln. Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Madam C.J. Walker, Jesse Owens, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King Jr, and Ruby Bridges.

    The First Attempt at a VR Experience – The Sensorama. In the 1950s, a cinematographer by the name of Morton Heilig came up with a unique concept he later developed, known as the Sensorama. Featuring an arcade-style theater cabinet, the sensorama was aimed at stimulating a person’s senses. It featured a stereoscopic 3D display, fans and smell generators, stereo speakers, as well as a vibrating chair. The idea of the Sensorama was to fully immerse a person into a film-like experience. Heilig also went on to create as much as six short movies for his device.

    Black History Month Modules in VR

    The VictoryXR virtual reality application for Black History Month is meant for older students in the junior-high through high school bracket. In this application, students take guided virtual tours of historic locations presented in immersive video.

    Modules focus on events including:

    • The Montgomery Bus Boycott;
    • The Voting Rights Movement;
    • Significant Speeches of the Civil Rights Era;
    • Figures like Booker T Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and others.

    Black Vistory Month VictoryXR VR experience

    Modules can be purchased through the VictoryXR app, or purchased individually through the Pico app store.

    The Pedestal Project by Color of Change

    Color of Change designs and promotes campaigns dedicated to combating racial injustice. Their Pedestal Project uses 3D models and mobile AR technology to place civil rights figures on the empty pedestals where “contentious” figures like confederate generals have been torn down.
    The website includes a tool for finding empty pedestals across the country. While this makes the experience more moving, anyone can use the experience launched from a QR code on the website. Even without AR functionality, users can view 3D models and read stories in-browser. Civil Rights leaders featured in the experience include John Lewis, Alicia Garza, and Chelsea Miller.

    Virtual Reality is expected to reach $34 billion by 2023 according to Markets and Markets and a combined total of $94 Billion including augmented reality by 2023.

    XR and Social Awareness

    When you think of XR as a technical medium, it may seem strange that there are many great Black History Month experiences. However, when you think of it as an artistic medium and a social medium, it only makes sense. If you find XR experiences promoting social justice and awareness, be sure to share them, this month and all year.

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