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Virtual reality needs U.S. gov't backing

Matt Hamblen | Aug. 3, 2016
Schools and workplaces stand to benefit from emerging technology

Will Mason, founder of UploadVR, an organization fostering VR developers, said U.S. policymakers need to recognize the "incredible amounts" of funding that the Chinese government is providing for VR development.

"I'm not seeing so much of that [investment] here in the U.S., especially on the government side, in immersive technology space and that could end up being a problem," he said. "Right now, VR in the U.S. is ahead on the tech side, but with billion of dollars on [China's] side, it will only grow and accelerate."

While Mason said there should be a role for the federal government in VR, other panelists said VR adoption in workplaces and schools will have to start in a more gradual, grassroots manner.

"We are talking with New York City public schools about getting VR into schools, but it has to be a bottom-up demand," said Elizabeth Reede, CEO of WoofbertVR. Her company provides VR curriculum to teachers to help students explore concepts and ideas, primarily through the arts. "Teachers are asking for it. City governments understand it slightly."

But Brake argued that it might not make sense for schools to jump early on the VR bandwagon, at least until it becomes more affordable. "We are early on the cusp on VR in education, so I'm not sure it makes sense for schools to be early adopters," he said. "We should let … costs come down."

 

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