HTC Names First Recipients Of 'VR For Impact' Grants

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Taiwanese tech giant HTC announced the first three recipients of its VR For Impact initiative that aims to fund virtual reality content, as well as related products and services in an effort to drive the adoption of that emerging technology. In a press release sent to media outlets on Friday, the Taoyuan-based company said it will finance Tree and Honey Bee VR experiences, in addition to funding SpaceVR, an ambitious space project that aims to combine satellites with VR solutions.

Developed in collaboration with the American ice cream brand Häagen-Dazs, Honey Bee is a virtual reality experience designed with the goal of raising awareness about bee populations that are growing extinct. The experience will see users adopt the perspective of a bee and learn all about the dangers to their existence from their perspective, HTC said. While Honey Bee is aiming to raise awareness about dangers to bees, Tree is looking to do the same with rainforests. The reportedly powerful and emotional VR experience will attempt to put deforestation-related issues into the spotlight at both the Tribeca Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival where it will soon debut. Finally, the SpaceVR project that HTC is funding is aiming to create the first VR satellite ever. Simply called Overview 1, the satellite is scheduled to be launched into space at some point this year by SpaceX. Once operational and orbiting the Earth, Overview 1 will continuously stream VR video.

All three projects that are now set to receive funding through VR For Impact are just the latest step in HTC's endeavor to grow the VR ecosystem. The company's development program will invest $10 million into similar projects in the coming years, and depending on the results of its investments, HTC might even opt to renew it. The Taiwanese consumer electronics manufacturer didn't clarify on how much funding the aforementioned initiatives are set to receive but did reveal that all three were chosen to be revealed today to commemorate Earth Day. More details on HTC's efforts related to VR products and services will likely follow later this year as the company is expected to announce the successor to its Vive headset in the near future.

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