Using underwater virtual reality to raise awareness of the beauty, fragility, and importance of the world’s oceans.
Using high definition underwater 360º virtual reality to raise awareness of the beauty, the fragility, and the critical importance of the world’s oceans.
The world’s oceans and the living creatures that inhabit it continue to deteriorate. Coral bleaching is spreading at an alarming rate, vast plumes of floating garbage are continually being discovered, plastics are polluting oceans and drinking water, and once abundant fish stocks are disappearing. When oceans are in trouble, humans are too. Millions of people around the globe depend on the oceans for food.
Fifty percent of the oxygen we breathe comes from phytoplankton in the ocean. As the oceans warm, phytoplankton populations are significantly affected and the ocean life that depends on the phytoplankton decline. As carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, the ocean absorbs the gas and becomes acidified, which destroys many corals and other organisms. The oceans are in serious trouble.
photo credit: Greg Asner
It is imperative that we help people understand the issues involved in a way that is strongly engaging. Showing the beauty and the fragility of the oceans, by using awe-inspiring technology, creates a deeper appreciation of the issues involved and a desire to conserve the world’s oceans.
A diver using the 360 Boxfish Research underwater camera.
The Lions of Gir Foundation (named after the near extinct Asiatic lions of the Gir Forest of India) plans to produce very high resolution, short duration, 360º videos that are converted for virtual reality using the Oculus Go VR goggles. The images are shot underwater by scientists and underwater photographers for use by STEM programs, classroom science education programs, museums, and aquariums around the globe.
The videos will be provided to educational institutions to be seen by as many people as possible. The camera will be loaned to scientists and photographers to help us gather content from the oceans of the world. In addition to the VR goggles the 360º videos can be viewed online, on mobile devices, or on a computer screen.
2018 has been declared the International Year of the Reef, and it couldn’t have come at a more important time. Coral reefs are in crisis – they could disappear on our watch and potentially within in our lifetime. It’s not too late – together, we can solve this crisis. But first, we need to raise awareness.