Return to XR for XRistos - Taming Extended Reality for the Lord

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Judy Kuster (conference moderator) 2019-10-24 5:34:32pm
I confess - I've only explored VR once - it was fascinating to enter Ann Frank's house in Germany under a headset. I am really looking forward to the VR/AR conference next spring! This morning I was curious about ways Christians are already using VR in some interesting/creative ways and am excited to see how our schools and churches may be using this in the future. I found VR churches, but also I found a United Methodist Church site, which has a free ebook (http://www.biblevr-app.com/index.html) to learn about VR and advertises Bible VR which they offer as a "rich environment" to help "educate people about Jesus, . . .With Virtual Reality, you're looking at worlds created in full 360 degrees. You can look everywhere... Up, down, left, right... Each experience is unique to each individual and different every time." They also offer a Free lifetime subscription to UMC pastors http://www.umc.org/resources/company-offers-free-virtual-reality-lifetime-subscriptions-to-pastors

A first step into a VR-like experience can be very inexpensive. These are the "360 degree videos." A 360 degree video is essentially a movie made by somebody that you can watch looking around front-side-back of you while it's playing. These require that you find the site on your cell phone and then slip the cell phone into the headset. Headsets to watch these are not expensive. I've found one at a thrift store for $2.50. There are cheap headsets like this advertised online at WalMart for under $5 and even a sample "silicone VR headset that you clip to your Smartphone and launch a virtual reality app to dive into a virtual world in just a few seconds" for $1.80. 

These 360 degree video experiences are fun and valuable but not quite full true VR, which enables you to move around in the virtual space and interact with things there. Prices for those headsets are higher but coming down. The Oculus GO is a full stand-alone (no computer connection needed) immersive VR headset for only $200. This is the one offered free as an incentive for schools to get involved in the XT project and festival.

Here is the NYTimes "VR" site which shows 360 movies.

https://www.nytimes.com/video/360-video

Here is the YouTube site that you get when you search on YouTube for "christian vr":

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=christian+vr+videos

The next is closer to true immersive VR because it lets you move around in the virtual world:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/348250/Google_Earth_VR/

That's a start.
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