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TMCNet:  Virtual Reality Visionaries Target UN Goals and Climate Action for HTC VIVE's

[April 21, 2017]

Virtual Reality Visionaries Target UN Goals and Climate Action for HTC VIVE's "VR for Impact"

HTC Vive marks Earth Day by unveiling the first grant recipients from its $10 million program targeting United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; projects include launching the first VR satellite into space later this year

SAN FRANCISCO, April 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- HTC VIVE™, the leader in room-scale Virtual Reality (VR), today announced the first grant recipients in its VR for Impact program. VR for Impact is Vive's $10 million commitment to drive VR content and technologies that will increase awareness and create positive impact in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Vive is commemorating Earth Day by unveiling projects from three creators with unique visions for how VR can address the UN's set of defined goals for the planet such as "Climate Action" and "Zero Hunger." These projects include SpaceVR, the first virtual reality satellite launching into space later this year, Tree, a creatively immersive perspective on deforestation, and The Extraordinary Honey Bee, a joint project with Häagen-Dazs®, Reach Agency and SPECTACLE to raise awareness about dwindling bee populations. All projects that receive funding by VR for Impact will be available on Viveport, HTC's app store for VR.

"We believe virtual reality and the immersive experiences it delivers have the potential to positively impact the biggest challenges that mankind faces," said Rikard Steiber, President of Viveport, HTC Vive. "We welcome the first VR for Impact grant recipients who will introduce VR as a powerful tool in raising awareness for the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and what better way to mark Earth Day than to unveil projects with three unique visions for helping the planet."

Vive launched VR for Impact as a multi-year program, and SpaceVR, Tree and The Extraordinary Honey Bee represent the first grants awarded. Vive is planning to announce additional grant recipients for 2017 through the end of the year.

SpaceVR is the world's first virtual reality platform allowing users to experience space first hand through the immersion of VR. Founded in 2015, the team has built the first VR satellite, the Overview 1, which will launch laer this year on Space X. Once in orbit, SpaceVR will stream video that users can experience in full virtual reality or as 360-degree video. For more information on SpaceVR, please visit www.spacevr.co.

"We're thrilled to be chosen as one of the first participants in HTC Vive's VR for Impact program," said Ryan Holmes, CEO of SpaceVR. "We share a vision with Vive that VR and its power to immerse and affect viewers like no other medium can be used to make the world a better place. By launching the first virtual reality satellite, we want to create the most vivid and visceral reminder yet that despite our individual trials and travails, we all live on this same fragile pale blue dot hurtling through space."

Tree is a critically acclaimed virtual reality experience enhanced by haptic feedback to immerse viewers in the tragic fate that befalls a rainforest tree. The experience brings to light the harrowing realities of deforestation, one of the largest contributors to global warming. Tree is an official selection of Sundance Film Festival New Frontier and Tribeca Film Festival Immersive 2017. For more information on Tree, please visit http://newreality.co.

"We are incredibly honored to announce our collaboration with the Vive VR for Impact program," said Milica Zec, co-director on Tree and co-founder of New Reality Company. "New Reality shares with VR for Impact a core tenet: that VR storytelling is key to raising awareness for the many challenges facing our earth."

Added Winslow Porter, co-director on Tree and co-founder of New Reality Company: "The Tree VR experience has incited emotional, empowering reactions among a wide array of viewers. During the final moments of Tree, a number of individuals have cried or shouted while in the headset and vowed afterward to take action. Together with VR for Impact, we want to reach people from all over the world to help make widespread global impact."

The Extraordinary Honey Bee is a joint project with Häagen-Dazs®, Reach Agency and SPECTACLE looking at the alarming rate at which bee populations are falling. In Honey Bee, users will shrink down to the size of a bee for a guided VR experience where they learn of the risks bee colonies face and solutions currently being implemented to offset their decline. For more information on The Extraordinary Honey Bee, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUt2PC0Ks4Y.

"We believe in the transformative and educational power of VR and are excited to use this technology to bring the plight of the honey bee to life," said Orchid Bertelsen, Nestlé USA Digital Innovation Lead. "We are thrilled to partner with Vive, not only because of their innovative technology and valuable audience, but because of their ideals and shared belief of harnessing the power of VR to drive true impact."

For press only, you can access assets including video trailers and key art here: http://bit.ly/2ovRU2A.

About VR for Impact

Announced at the World Economic Forum 2017, Vive's VR for Impact is a multi-year program providing grants to VR projects in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The UN goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Through VR for Impact, HTC Vive is committing $10 million dollars to industry partners and content developers to create VR experiences that improve awareness, education, and lead to action. For more information please visit https://vrforimpact.com/.

About HTC VIVE™

VIVE is a first-of-its-kind virtual reality platform developed by HTC and Valve for total immersion in virtual worlds. Designed from the ground up for room-scale VR and true-to-life interactions, VIVE delivers on the promise of VR with game-changing technology and best-in-class content. VIVE has been recognized with over 65 awards and wide critical acclaim since its unveiling in 2015. For more information, visit www.VIVE.com.

HTC and the HTC logo are the trademarks of HTC Corporation. All other names of companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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