Advertising, design and digital agency Deutsch NY, visual content studio Ntropic and specialist VR company Tactic have launched an educational social good initiative called the “Hidden Dangers Project,” in conjunction with the nonprofit organisation WaterIsLife. The initiative includes an interactive VR game in which a player floats in a boat while pollutants personified as evil monsters spring from the water, with the player using a purification device as a weapon against the Bacteria Monster, the Trash Monster, the Metal Monster and the Chemical Monster. The aim is to educate children about the importance of clean water. The VR experience and an accompanying case study video, highlight the Chao Phraya River in Thailand in which residents have been living off the river for generations.
“We created the VR experience to bring Thai children face to face with the dangers hidden in their water”
It's just part of the Hidden Dangers site, which allows users to virtually “explore the river,” highlighting each of the aforementioned monsters and illustrating the dangers they pose. For example, it notes that children collect water from the Chao Phraya River to drink, cook and brush their teeth with, without realising the 'Bacteria Monster' is hiding in it as a result of human and agricultural waste and they unknowingly contract diseases like cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery and chronic diarrhoea. The 'Trash Monster', on the other hand, comes when rain washes human waste from land, and when metal pipes get old, they leak into the river to create the toxic 'Metal Monster'. Finally, when factories discharge chemicals, they create a 'Chemical Monster', which can disrupt hormone systems. The site also includes a downloadable Oculus experience, as well as a 360-degree video, which aims to allow educators to share the experience with their students without the need of a VR helmet.
“Beyond teaching them about proper filtration and sanitation, the project inspires kids to keep water clean”
The website asks for donations, noting that $10 buys a WaterIsLife personal filtration straw that provides clean drinking water for one child for up to a year. According to WaterIsLife, the filter straw is a portable water purifier that can be used in any water source. The straw includes membranes, iodised crystals and active carbon, which removes medium-sized bacteria and is effective against waterborne bacteria and viruses. The filter can clean more than 800 litres of water, or two to three litres per day and the filter will clog internally when it is no longer effective. Sounds like you could do a lot worse for $10 (which, given the value of the pound these days is effectively a tenner).