Taipei, April 22 (CNA) HTC Vive, the virtual reality operations of Taiwan-based smartphone brand HTC Corp. (宏達電), has announced the three grant recipients in its US$10 million program to increase awareness about VR technology.

The first grant recipient is SpaceVR, which has built the first VR satellite.

The VR for Impact grogram is a part of HTC’s efforts to drive VR content and technologies in a bid to raise awareness and create a positive impact in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


The program includes a project to launch the first VR satellite into orbit.

According to HTC, the VR satellite, the Overview 1, which is equipped with VR devices, is scheduled to be launched later this year.

Once in orbit, SpaceVR, the world’s first VR platform which allows users to experience space through the immersion effects of VR, will allow video users to experience space in full virtual reality or as a 360-degree video, HTC said.

In January 2017, HTC set up the Vive’s one-year VR for Impact program to lend support to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The goals are a universal call for action to end poverty, protect the Earth, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

In addition to SpaceVR, the other two grant recipients are Tree and the Extraordinary Honey Bee, HTC said.

Tree is an official selection of Sundance Film Festival New Frontier and Tribeca Film Festival Immersive 2017, HTC said. It is an acclaimed virtual reality experience enhanced by haptic feedback to immerse viewers in the tragic fate that befalls a rainforest tree, HTC added.

The Extraordinary Honey Bee is a joint project of Häagen-Dazs, Reach Agency and SPECTACLE, which takes a close look at the alarming rate at which bee populations are on the decline, HTC said.

HTC announced the grant recipients under the VR for Impact program on the eve of April 22 Earth Day.

“We welcome the first VR for Impact grant recipients who will introduce VR as a powerful tool in raising awareness for the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and what better way to mark Earth Day than to unveil projects with three unique visions for helping the planet?” Rikard Steiber, President of Viveport, said in a statement.

“We believe virtual reality and the immersive experiences it delivers have the potential to positively impact the biggest challenges that mankind faces,” Steiber said.

HTC Vive is expected to announce the second round of winning projects under the program at the end of 2017.

The smartphone brand said that all of the applications receiving grants under the VR for Impact program will be available on the Viveport app store.

(By Jeffery Wu and Frances Huang)
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