WWF’s Reef Goggles: Swim Australia’s Coral Reefs in VR and then help save them

[Here’s another of a seemingly increasing number of projects that purposefully use presence experiences to motivate and persuade media users; the story from Collectively includes more images. –Matthew]

Reef Goggles - "See It, Save It" graphic

Now Anyone Can Swim Through Australia’s Coral Reefs With DIY Virtual Reality Goggles

Scott Pierce
June 12th, 2015

This week, the World Wildlife Fund launched Virtual Reality Reef Goggles, an unbelievable way to explore the Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia’s most diverse, sensitive ecosystems.

All you need is a smartphone with a cardboard viewer, which you can easily learn to make here, and visit It’s Your Reef. Don’t have a smartphone or cardboard viewer? No worries. Just click here and view it on your computer.

There, you’ll have a 360˚ underwater view, and swim virtually through Lady Elliot Island, the Yongala Wreck, North Broken Passage and Myrmidon Reef. Not only will you see it. You’ll hear it, thanks to audio previously captured by divers, ultimately making a dynamic, immersive adventure even more so.

Developed with help from Underwater Earth, Google Creative Lab and Grumpy Sailor, the virtual experience utilizes the new experimental platform Storyspheres, which transforms panoramic photos into a new documentary and narrative viewing experience.

Although the VR is awesome, this also has a serious message. The tech is part of WWF’s Draw the Line campaign, a call to action for everyone to see and save the reef.

Later this month, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee will meet in Bohn, Germany, where they’ll decide whether to put Australia on probation for neglecting the reef’s overall health.

The decision comes three years after UNESCO accused Australia of not protecting the reef. Of course, further destruction of the reef could impact Australia in many ways. The destruction of the reef could cause fish populations to plummet, for example, would severely impact the country’s economy.

“Your support can help secure a momentous win for the Great Barrier Reef,” said Rick Leck, WWF’s National Manager of Marine Conservation, in a statement. “It’s your Reef, join the campaign to help protect it.”

After users sign in, they can claim and name their own personal spot within the reef, becoming an ambassador for the cause.

Likewise, be sure to visit WWF’s campaign here, where you can add your name to a list and join people from around the world, telling UNESCO that Australia needs to limit port expansions, dredging, and pollution in Australia.


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