Immersive Computing for Impact


On Tuesday, July 24, Impact Hub member Asante Simmons led an Intro to AR/VR presentation and demo for the public in our Training Lab. Asante spoke passionately about how Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and even 360 degree audio are creating a generational change. This technology has the power to inspire change, improve processes and efficiency, save money and even save lives!

After listening to Asante’s presentation, the ways virtual reality can be used seemed endless. It goes way beyond the typical gaming experience that may come to mind. For example, VR has the potential to transform the medical industry. It is being used to plan complex operations which increases the success rate. In 2017, VR played a vital role in the successful separation of conjoined twins at Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.

Virtual Reality is also being used to teach individuals in settings from elementary school classrooms to the military. VR offers an affordable and readily available way to bring virtual field trips, language immersion, and various skills training scenarios to life.

Asante’s presentation also taught the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality. Augmented reality enhances experiences by adding virtual components such as digital images, graphics, or sensations as a new layer of interaction with the real world. Contrastingly, virtual reality creates its own reality that is completely computer generated.

So what does this have to do with social impact? Asante shared how these immersive technologies are being used to inspire others to act when confronted with a social problem. AR/VR can be used as an empathy machine, helping to raise awareness, and further connect audiences to social causes. Examples of this include; a AR/VR series to create stronger appreciation for the planet and building AR/VR scenarios to address social interaction in individuals with autism.

After the presentation, attendees had the chance to interact with the technology. Asante had glasses and headsets available to demo. People of all ages were eager to try each item. Entrepreneurs from Snapspheres were also present to show off their 3D printed globes.

Thank you, Asante, for hosting an interactive and educational event. We can’t wait to see where immersive technologies will take us!