Harnessing Immersive Technology for a Sustainable Future
Our planet is facing serious challenges, including climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. Although technology may seem like an unexpected ally, it can play a vital role in promoting sustainability and environmental protection. At Shadow Factory, we have the privilege of using cutting-edge tools to raise awareness about critical environmental issues. Discover how we used immersive technology to make Crazy Possible for two of our partners.
AUGMENTED REALITY: The Fight Against Plastic Waste
The detrimental effects of plastic waste on our oceans, coastlines, and ecosystems are irreversible, endangering lives and livelihoods. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the situation, with a surge in demand for single-use plastics. A PNAS study revealed that over 8 million tons of pandemic-related plastic were generated worldwide, with more than 25,000 tons entering the global ocean.
In 2021, we collaborated with The MeshMinds Foundation and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to leverage innovative technology to raise awareness around plastic pollution with the use of Augmented Reality (AR). The ‘100 Days to #BeatPlasticPollution’ campaign aimed to “mobilize digitally connected youth to adopt habits that will help turn the tide on the plastic pandemic” (Kay Vasey). As one part of the campaign, we developed “Say No To Single-Use”, an engaging, gamified AR social media filter that educates users about the advantages of replacing single-use plastics with reusable alternatives. Interaction with the AR experience led to a significant increase in users' belief in their ability to combat plastic pollution (Raymond, Pimentel, & Vasey).
Not only is AR a fantastic tool for creating visually engaging experiences, but it can also inspire people to adopt more sustainable practices and make important behavioral changes. Whether it’s through an educational filter or a highly intricate execution, AR has the potential to help us tackle various climate-related challenges.
"We reached over 21 million youth across 45 countries worldwide, including the 7 target countries in Southeast Asia, with over 1.2 million playing and pledging to join the #beatplasticpollution movement. This hugely successful campaign paved the way towards the UNEA Resolution, ‘End Plastic Pollution: Towards a legally binding instrument’ that was signed by 175 nations in March 2023." Kay Vasey, MeshMinds.
VIRTUAL REALITY: A Glimpse into Water and Sanitation Crises
Habitat for Humanity is a global organization that's dedicated to improving people's living conditions all around the world. In Bangladesh, where inadequate sanitation and water scarcity pose serious health and safety risks, especially for children, the need for help is more urgent than ever. That's why, in 2022, we teamed up with Habitat to create an immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experience that brings viewers up close and personal with their efforts in the country.
Founder and Group Chairman of Shadow Factory, Amit Chatterjee, traveled to Bangladesh to record 360-degree videos that showcase Habitat's work in enhancing housing, water, sanitation, and living conditions. With VR, we can transport you directly into the heart of the situation, allowing you to experience a lifelike simulation of an ecosystem or population under threat.
But it's not just about experiencing the situation firsthand. VR's power lies in its ability to evoke strong emotional reactions, motivating individuals to take action and protect the planet. By showcasing this immersive experience at conferences, exhibits, and meetings all over the world, Habitat can secure new and increased sponsorship to continue making a difference in the lives of those affected by the water and sanitation crises in Bangladesh.
As we celebrate Earth Day, it’s crucial to recognize the potential of immersive technology to raise awareness about pressing environmental concerns. By harnessing the power of AR and VR, we can create impactful experiences that educate, engage, and inspire users to contribute to the protection and preservation of our planet. At Shadow Factory, we are committed to using our innovative capabilities for the greater good and fostering a brighter, more sustainable future for all.
Want to continue the conversation? Connect with Tatum on Linkedin.