We wanted to use Virtual Reality to create a new interactive way to explore what is happening around the World, as well as to visualize statistics. The way people read news has constantly been changing with the development of new technology - and with Virtual Reality, we proposed an entirely new of accessing news and interacting with data.
What it does
"The Global Experience" is an immersive data-visualization experience where the user can explore the top news from all countries by simply pointing. The user's point of view is from space, and he's free to rotate the earth to get where he needs to go. Also we implemented a similar web version of our app, since not everyone can afford Virtual Reality headsets.
How we built it
We built this using the Unity3D Game Engine, HTC Vive, and our own created API to extract the news from TheGuardian website. We developed algorithms to map news articles to coordinates in our planet and created a new engaging interactive experience.
Challenges we ran into
Creating our own API and transporting text from the json file to the Virtual Reality environment was pretty difficult. Since VR is so new, there's also a big lack of documentation and design standards, so we were forced to break new ground.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We were capable of creating a new way to absorb information. We were also able to deploy this onto two different platforms (VR and web app) during the hackathon.
What we learned
Importing text in VR and linking news headlines with the locations of the countries by using their exact longitude and latitude. How to create meaningful interactions in VR.
What's next for "The Global Experience"
We would like to see how we can connect social media to our environment, as well as display global statistics using our project. We also want to incorporate video and image visualization inside "Global" so it's more than just text.