If you’re anything like me, you’re excited about marrying your love of immersive technology with your passion to make the world a better place. From Clouds over Sidra to Ecosphere, impact projects have produced some of the best of immersive storytelling.

Now, I would like to propose some suggestions for taking these pieces to the next level putting real impact and action front and center while empowering both the subject and the viewer.

From VR for Good, VR for Impact, or ‘The Empathy Machine’, people are eager to use immersive technology to spread awareness about issues they are passionate…

Film festivals around the world united to curate a festival!

Launching today on YouTube, We Are One film festival features a stellar immersive video selection, along with talks from Bong Joon Ho and Francis Ford Copolla, and over 100 traditional films.

The VR selection was co-curated by a selection committee of curators from Venice VR, Tribeca Immersive, Annecy XR, and NY Film Festival Convergence. If you missed the chance to see these experiences at Cannes, Venice, and Tribeca, now is your chance!

Enjoy this selection with the YouTube links below or in a VR Headset on the home page of…

Tribeca is one of my favorite VR festivals. I’ve been there several times and have written about their amazing installations in the past. I was a bit sad knowing we wouldn’t be gathering in New York for the festival this year. However, by some lucky stroke of the coronavirus pandemic, I think I may have actually preferred watching the selection at my leisure in my living room.

If you haven’t checked out the Cinema360 curation yet on Oculus TV — you are in for a treat! Time to blast to the moon, shrink into a dollhouse, and inhabit other bodies!

VR provides a powerful tool with which to shape our identity, a tool that could lead to powerful societal progress or terrible detriment. Now is the time for a discussion regarding ethical design, content, data management, and platform creation. Here, I propose a possible framework of an open-garden VR ecosystem with personal data ownership, design for mindfulness, a humane search engine, and ethical content.

We are our experiences

The miracle of the human mind is its ability to adapt to a wide variety of stimuli. This neural plasticity allows us to realize a huge range of actions beyond our innate programming.

Unlike other animals…

The greatest stories are true — and stranger than fiction. As I publish ¡Viva La Evolución!, I’d like to finally publicly share the story behind the documentary that launched my VR career. The story — like the documentary — is a tale of global camaraderie and insane luck.

But first, a little about the documentary:

You’re in a cramped loft in Havana, Cuba. The sun streams through a window overlooking a market, and the sounds filter in softly from outside: chickens clucking, people bartering. Inside, it’s a makeshift recording studio complete with turntables, mixers and crates of vintage dance…

We commonly hear that Virtual Reality is a mixture of gaming, animation, video, and installation art. These mediums all offer different strengths to the palette of VR tools, from interactivity to photorealism.

When creating a VR experience, I find it useful to think backwards from the goal of the experience whether it be to increase retention while learning neuroscience or foster open mindedness for other cultures.

I thought I would share some slides I put together for students of Academy of Art to encourage them to mix mediums. …

Live Capture Virtual Reality is difficult.

360 Video is one way, but it doesn’t afford you the aspect of embodied cognition that gives VR its special powers of hacking identity, shifting perception, and embedding new memories. (Don’t believe me? )

Google might just be changing that.

A bit of (recent) history

Microsoft has a great solution for inward facing volumetric video — but it’s incredibly expensive and can only capture characters, not whole scenes. Also, even if you nail the 106 cameras shooting 30fps with Kinect integrated for depth, the magic definitely comes on the back end here.

At Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco

Lytro promised outward facing volumetric video from…

New VR/AR experiences with 360 photos of the installations.

Tribeca had some beautiful AR and VR experiences accompanied by smart physical installations that created a wonderful entry-point to the different virtual worlds.

Here are some of my favorite experiences, accompanied by 360 photos of the installations. Be sure to scroll around to view the full environment!

Queerskins: A Love Story Interactive Spatial Experience

Created by a former medical resident at NY Hospital who treated terminally-ill AIDS patients and currently works as a physician at Rikers Island jail, Queerskins is raw but respectful and shows a deep knowledge and dedication to the story and to humanity. …

Protesters gathered outside Super Bowl City to voice the need for a real solution to homelessness.

Super Bowl City, with its Bud Light sculpture, gun-toting officers and snipers lining the high-rises along the Embarcadero, has been cleared. But the wake up call it inadvertently became to address homeless in San Francisco has only begun to echo.

“For every shelter bed that exists in the city, there are six homeless people,” said homeless veteran Michael Kirby. “So they’ve got the 311 Shelter Waitlist, which I’m on, but you’ll never get a bed. I had a dermoid cyst rupture in my brain. I got dumped out of the hospital and I have spent since Oct. …

Community members gathered in front of City Hall on January 28 to oppose the Affordable Housing Bonus Program.

››San Francisco is in crisis. With rent prices skyrocketing past Manhattan’s, many San Franciscans are being forced to relocate outside of the city.

“Each year 60,000 residents move out, while 70,000 move in,” noted Gil Kelley, the San Francisco Planning Department’s director of citywide planning.

Teachers, city workers, bus drivers and even some techies simply cannot afford to live in the city.

“I pay $1,400 to have a closet and sleep upright with my surfboards,” quipped one (relatively lucky) Mission resident.

To address the crisis, the City Planning Commission proposed the Affordable Housing Bonus Program at a Jan. 28 meeting…

Fifer Garbesi

Virtual Reality Producer. Bay Area Native. www.fifergarbesi.com insta/twitter: @virtuallyfifer

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