Does Virtual Reality technology have a place in Rwandan ecosystem?

Players in the IT sector and beyond have been urged look into pursuing solutions from Virtual Reality, as its bound to have a greater impact on technology trends in the near future and have wider application in business, social life, and so on.

Virtual reality involves simulated experience that can be similar to the real world; or a completely different from the real world.

 

While it is still an upcoming technology globally, with little to no regulation in most countries, it has been said to bear potential for use in entertainment, education, among other spheres.

 

Rwanda-based African Leadership University (ALU) is one of the local institutions that are looking to promote the uptake of the technology in the country and beyond.

 

 In November this year, the university will host an online hackathon event where developers, coders, designers, strategists are expected to come together to create and problem-solve to build solutions leveraging Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality technologies.

According to ALU’s Global Ecommerce Talent (GET) team that is behind the organization of the hackathon, the event is not intended to implement solutions in virtual reality, but rather to create awareness of the existence of virtual reality; create a market awareness for it; and encourage people to pursue solutions in it.

“If we do not encourage people to pursue solutions in virtual reality, then there will be no labour market for it, and so we cannot produce talents that can produce technology that incorporates virtual reality,” a member of GET team told The New Times in an interview.

“The more we talk about virtual reality and create spaces for it, then the more solutions we see in that area and the more talent we raise and grow,” they added.

Experts say that virtual reality has a lot of potential if developed and put to appropriate use through relevant solutions. For instance, it can be used in education to enhance student learning and engagement; in tourism to give sightseers a decent experience without traveling to the actual sceneries; among other things.

ALU’s hackathon targets those interested in art, entrepreneurship, graphics, 3D Modelling, film, education and other spaces; and it will engage ideas for education, healthcare (including Covid-19 responses), tourism, gaming and climate.

Participants will have the opportunity to receive mentorship from expert practitioners in extended reality, in addition to prizes for those who will emerge winners.

Fraterne Shema a second year student at ALU is one of those that hope to participate from Rwanda.

He reckons that the world is heading more towards digital solutions, which include virtual reality which can be used in a number of fields.

“For example in biology when students are being taught about the human brain, augmented reality can be used so that they can have access to the brain and their studies get more practical.”

Babu Kamanzi, another ALU student also has similar ideas. He says virtual reality can be used as a teaching aid in Rwandan high schools, to have the students more engaged, think critically, and reduce the boredom that comes from high school lessons as we know them.

Kamanzi reckons an increased use of virtual reality in the future, to an extent that in coming years, it will be common to own virtual reality headsets.

hkuteesa@newtimesrwanda.com

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