The Non-profit Organization WiiT Europe Partners With Facebook To Drive Diversity Forward In VR and AR

This Tuesday, the Nonprofit Women in Immersive Technologies Europe announced that Facebook became its first strategic partner. It also informed that the social network would help support its work to push diversity matters, highlighting and specifying female talent working in the virtual reality and augmented sectors in Europe.

Women in Immersive Technologies Europe (WiiT) will also receive financial support from Facebook, helping it organize local events and grow its network across Europe. The organization also said that the social networks’ ongoing commitment is going to increase diversity, which was another conclusive factor in entering the partnership.

But what exactly are Augmented and Virtual Realities? Augmented Reality (AR) adds digital models or elements to the live view, for example, Snapchat filters and games like Pokemon Go. It can also be implemented in shopping applications like the Ikea Place app, which lets the users digitally add furniture to the live view of their smartphone camera so that they can select furniture according to the physical space available to them.

Virtual Reality (VR) completely immerses the user and cuts off the physical world. The user has to equip devices like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or Google Cardboard to be able to use VR. Users can be virtually transported and observe the real world and imagined environments, be it the surface of the Sun or flying in the air. It is also heavily utilized in games, for example, Beat Saber and VR Chat, and designing environments for engineering purposes.

There is a combination that utilizes both AR and VR, known as Mixed Reality (MR). In this, real-world and digital objects interact. One early example of MR would be Microsoft’s HoloLens.

All of the aforementioned terms come under the umbrella of the Extended Reality (XR), whether they are creating unreal and simulated worlds for the users to experience, or providing real-world information about the actual world we live in.

Christina Weaver Jackson, the manager of Facebook’s AR and VR policy manager said that as they are continuing to invest in Augmented and Virtual Realities, they are furthering diversity which is very important to ensure that their products meet the diverse needs of the people who use them. She also stated that they were excited to partner up with Women in Immersive Technologies and support their comprehensive community of talented women who are driving the AR and VR ecosystem in Europe.

The co-founder of Women in Immersive Technologies Europe, Leen Segers responded that they were grateful for their allies, members, ambassadors, and their restless energy to make the XR (AR, VR, and mixed reality) industry a better place. She also added that they are always looking to create strong connections with the industry leaders who believe in their mission and Facebook has been one of the first platforms that have partnered with Women in Immersive Technologies, and they are excited to move ahead together.

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