Colombian Virtual Reality project wins big: Scoops prestigious IDB and Meta awards!

IDB and Meta

It was highlighted among more than 300 proposals from 22 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and will receive funding, mentoring, and training.

The innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank IDB and Meta company highlighted ten communities in Latin America and the Caribbean for their inclusive technological developments that will be integrated into the metaverse. In this select group is the Colombian project of the BuroDAP Foundation which designs sustainable and safe urban spaces for pedestrians using virtual reality.

To the call, 370 proposals (from 22 countries) were submitted that use virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to benefit their communities in fields such as health, education, and job creation, among others. This was the first worldwide pilot, explained Héctor Faya, director of Public Policy Programs at Meta.

“Without a doubt, communication will involve immersive technologies, which will enable us to feel relationships with people more intensely, as a natural evolution of technology that began with computers to the mobile internet and later to a phenomenon that is very more fluid where we will depend less and less on devices, that’s where we’re going,” said Faya.

These projects show how both VR and AR can help improve people’s lives in physical and tangible reality. The criteria for choosing those selected for their good practices were the potential for social innovation, the potential to scale the solution (can it be replicated in the future?), and the experience of the organization.

The winning communities received economic support (US$10,000 dollars), and they will have the support of the IDB and Meta to advise on business issues and a visit to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for a week to share their practices with the other winners, investors, and politicians.

Colombian Talent!

BuroDAP Foundation is dedicated to urban planning and accessibility, and what it has been doing in the last five years is to take traveling workshops to the most vulnerable communities in the Policarpa sector of Cartagena where technology has a very important value.

With the support of students from various universities in the city, they carry out diagnoses and surveys of the sectors with problems related to flooding, invasion of public space, and garbage, to later devise proposals that materialize through animations that help residents understand what happens in the environment.

This approach is achieved through QR codes that the neighbors scan to enter these imaginary environments that simulate those urban spaces with a new appearance: more sustainable, and safer for pedestrians and people with disabilities.

Elkin Vargas, director of the BuroDAP Foundation, explained that, in addition, these exercises are simulated on a model using augmented reality. They propose the solution through 3D models, how would the trails be without garbage and floods or the neighborhood be without shacks due to illegal occupation. A simulation of the transformed environment.

“In addition to the graphic resources, we are also interested in finding a solution and bringing together the public, corporate, and nonprofit sectors. Tactical urbanism allows quick, low-budget actions that can be carried out on a community basis, we as articulators facilitate this relationship, we are accelerators of these actions, “said Vargas.

The Other Nine Selected Projects:

– Brillante, Guatemala: an application to rehabilitate speech, which provides help to teachers and parents based on augmented reality stimuli aimed at children with difficulties in speech, as well as in language and communication.

– Clube da Alice, Brazil: a community of businesswomen that facilitates and encourages female entrepreneurship, allowing participants to connect with new clients, and access free courses, events, and fairs.

A community of independent developers, businesses, and institutions in Mexico called CLUMTI AC uses virtual reality to boost the competitiveness of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

– EXPYLAB, Paraguay: support program for emerging creators from vulnerable and low-income populations for the development of immersive reality projects, through extended reality training that allows these populations to express their narratives and show their cultural heritage in the metaverse.

– Gran Chaco Impact NFT, Bolivia: a space for collectors to join forces with artists and curators to help artisan women turn native art into digital tokens, with the goal of preserving and promoting the culture of their communities.

– Kodea, Chile: computer training program, tutoring in digital skills, and support for women entrepreneurs.

– Immersive Learning Network (Rain), Ecuador: project to support the use of immersive technologies to stimulate learning in educational environments (technological institutes and universities) and promote the acquisition of skills related to extended reality.

– Socialcrypto.Art, Brazil: the initiative to bring together artists, producers, and creators from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro who wish to digitize and commercialize their art and thus contribute to the socioeconomic development of the favelas.

– Youth Can Do IT Limited (YCDI), from Jamaica: a technology education project for young people with the aim of opening up new employment opportunities for them.

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