Technology is wonderful; but we already know that.
What is truly amazing is the human brain, after all is humans who are able to design and build the incredible and wonderful technology some of us have the privilege to access and consume. But there is however, another amazing aspect to technology, and this involves sharing it with hundreds of children and witnessing their expressions of awe, amazement and surprise.
A couple of weeks ago one of the teachers at my boys’ school (Regency Park Primary School) asked me if I was interested in doing a presentation to the whole school on Monday the 16th of May on emerging technologies in order to celebrate Education Week. As the topic chosen by the school was “Be Inspired by Technology” I considered very appropriate to talk about wearable cameras, 360° spherical cameras and VR goggles. So, thanks to Frank Boukamp, Yolanda Rios and Howard Errey I was able to take with me a Ricoh Theta S, a GoPro and a couple of Google Cardboard to do a simple demonstration. Not only were the children completely mesmerised by these gadgets but so were teachers and parents alike. Even though children have been exposed to Google Maps and have seen how the street view function works, they loved the idea of having their own camera to use it for many other things, some of the suggestions were:
- Recording sporting events
- Recording school performances
- Recording family parties
- For espionage (you got to love this one)
- To see the universe (and this one too)
- To take a huge selfie (which we did, but due to privacy issues I can’t share it with you) – it turned out just great!
When the presentation moved into VR, as expected, children became more excited and sadly I was running out of time. I briefly explained to them how 360° videos could be edited and converted into 3D environments and then viewed with a VR Goggle given the viewer an immersive experience – how I wished I had 300 cardboard goggles and 300 mobile phones at that moment!
I only managed to give two students and one teacher the opportunity to try the cardboard and for a couple of minutes we traveled under the sea, to the Pyramids in Egypt and the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, and if I were to rate my presentation by what they were saying then I can say that my visit paid off.
Photo by Zaina Nehme