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Student designers showcase phase one of virtual reality projects

Videos are meant to foster joy, empathy and connection for their peers

In a paddock with horses, skiing down a mountain and going on a hike are just some of the virtual reality videos that St. Vrain students have created over the past year.

The UCHealth Neuroscience VR project team showcased their work on Wednesday at the Innovation Center. Rendever, a virtual reality company focused on senior living communities and health care settings, and UCHealth have served as mentors to students for this project.

Innovation Center students used design thinking to create meaningful virtual reality experiences that may eventually be used in real-life settings with their peers. The first phase of this project was to develop virtual reality video content to prompt joy, empathy and a sense of connection within the secondary education setting.

The event showcased the “why” behind each project, allowing students to explain the process and development of their prototypes from design thinking to content design.

One group created a video with horses to bring a sense of joy, while another worked out a video meant to portray what ADHD feels like. A pair of sisters filmed a VR video of skiing as a way to connect people to the sport and another video used hiking footage to help people feel more calm.

The students also discussed the challenges they’ve faced in translating their ideas to technical applications, like nearly losing their videos or struggling to condense their work into 90 seconds. Other technological issues were things like accidentally filming in 180 degrees rather than 360 and editing.

Students were able to show their VR videos to members of UCHealth and Rendever, who asked questions and provided feedback.

The goal is to take these prototypes into schools next year and get feedback. The students will then continue to build their library of VR videos that continue to promote joy, empathy and connection over the next few years and expand into more schools.