Mark Zuckerberg made a big splash last week with Facebook's dive into social VR in the form of Facebook Spaces. But Zuckerberg knows that social media is just part of the VR picture, and on Sunday he demonstrated that by posting a short VR film called Step to the Line.
Shot using the new Nokia OZO camera, directed by Ricardo Laganaro, and produced in partnership with Defy Ventures, the film is part of the Oculus VR For Good programme.
The Oculus initiative was launched last year to support VR film projects that encourage positive social change.
In the case of Step to the Line, the documentary profiles a number of prison inmates who are working to change the direction of their lives through education.
"One of the most powerful side effects of VR is empathy - the ability to understand other people better when you feel like you're actually with them," wrote Zuckerberg on his personal Facebook page.
"When I was in Alabama two months ago as part of my 'Year of Travel' challenge, one of the most powerful experiences for me was meeting Anthony Ray Hinton, a man who was exonerated and released after 30 years on death row.
There's nothing like meeting someone like Anthony in person, but VR can get you pretty close. It's a reminder of how much work we have to do to guarantee equal justice for all."
We sometimes hear tech insiders debate the strengths and weaknesses of VR versus other technologies, but one thing that is undeniably unique to VR is its ability to serve as a empathy engine.
Beyond the games and social networking apps, VR films that plunge us into the middle of the lives of others are one of VR's most powerful applications.
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