A lot has happened since we got back from the shoot in Egypt. The whole team got busy with first of all the post-production, the website, and meeting wonderful people, pioneers in the world of 360°Virtual Reality, people within healthcare, medical research, animal welfare, research and rescue, environment, education, marketing, the cultural field and journalism. By itself it is great joy to meet all these people passionate to ‘make the world a better place’, by doing what they love. So, here’s the follow-up story with a very grateful heart, to all beings involved and especially the cetaceans of course:
The Embassy of the Cetacean ImagiNation, a non-profit start-up presents: ‘the Dolphin Swim Club’ a healing 360°VR experience. This project is foremost about sharing the joy, playful spirit and beauty of wild dolphins in their home; the free oceans of the world. To meet a dolphin or a whale under water and look into their eye is perhaps one of the most amazing encounters one can have on this planet. It is our dream to share this experience through 360°VR, and so inspire a love for the oceans and all it’s inhabitants.
The stress reducing and even healing effect (British Medical Journal 2005) from meeting especially dolphins is widely known. All throughout history there are many stories and legends account for just that. In modern medicine these seemingly magical qualities of cetaceans are used in so called; ‘Dolphin assisted therapy’. Unfortunately the facilities offering these programs are keeping dolphins in captivity. Today we know so much more about the amazing intelligence, language and complex societies of cetaceans, that this is clearly a highly undesirable situation. It leads to drastically shortened lives and endless suffering.
So we thought: ‘Lets make a great alternative’, and we did! In 360°Virtual Reality.
Off course wanting to film wild dolphins in the free oceans, does require an element of luck, besides working with the best crew, best location, we made sure that all circumstances were as perfect as possible for the shoot, the dolphins must want to be there. And they did, they showed up and now we are able to have people experience through virtual reality pods of more than 90 spinner and bottlenose dolphins. That is more than we ever dreamt of…
Official medical research | In January 2016 both Dr. Wim Veling of the University Medical Centre Groningen and Professor Skip Rizzo of the University of Southern California decided to start an official medical research in the field of depression, psychoses and anxiety disorders (NL) and autism (USA) by using our VR experience.
360°VR preview | In April we have launched our 360° preview which is now available on our special player. Check out our new website and there you will find the player with the 360°VR preview, suitable for most smartphones! You can order VR Goggles to watch the dolphins with your own smartphone in 360°VR, and you may want to leave a donation to support our efforts, highly appreciated!
A healing 360°VR experience | Several health organizations in the Netherlands have pre-ordered the Dolphin Swim Club under water 360°VR dolphin footage. They want to open up the world of multiple disabled patients, or provide an opportunity to reduce stress within all kinds of healthcare.
The Dolphins start to find their way | Early in May, the Norwegian Cancer Society has decided to use our images for the treatment of patients, age 13 to19, who will undergo bone marrow transplants, in Oslo, to supply a beautiful distraction from life in an isolation room (5-6 weeks). They want to explore practical implications and whether the use of VR can help children and young adults to cope better with the adverse effects of their treatments.
A ticket to the VRcinema instead of a dolphin show! | Starting May the 4th, our high quality 360°VR preview is shown in Europe’s first VRcinema’s both in Amsterdam and Berlin, for the ‘just fun’ part, as we love to share the joy of the dolphins with everybody. And we think it’s real cool that you can now buy a ticket to the VRmovies instead of a dolphin show!
Dolphins team up with Seals for a clean ocean | Beside the production of several VR-movies, and watching the dolphins find their way into healthcare and delighting viewers everywhere, we do have dreams left. We would love to make waterproof VR-goggles out of waste plastic, taken from the ocean. Because not only cetaceans but all ocean inhabitants would greatly benefit from a clean sea, we teamed up with a Seal Rescue Centre in the Netherlands (Zeehondencentrum Pieterburen) as they are running a program gathering abandoned fishing nets (ghost nets) and other plastics from the Waddenzee (North of The Netherlands). These debris are recycled into a special granulate.
The waterproof feature will even add another sense to the healing experience and would be very suitable for severely paralyzed patients.
As a non-profit start-up all revenues will flow back into the project for the funding of the research and the development of further under water experiences.
More info about the project on our website: www.thedolphinswimclub.com