Guardian launches First Impressions VR project

The Guardian has announced the launch of First Impressions, a new VR project on Daydream View, Google’s mobile VR platform.

First Impressions explores how a baby views the world during the first six months of life.

Drawing on cutting-edge academic research, viewers can experience the amazing development in visual ability that occurs in the first half a year of a person’s life.

Beginning with only muted colours being visible, the experience progresses as the user sees the world quickly gain colour – first reds and greens, then yellows and blues.

Depth of focus increases, and slowly the room takes focus in 3D.

“First Impressions has much to commend it for anyone interested in infant development,”Charles Nelson PhD, professor of pediatrics at Harvard, said. 

“The ability to explore the world through the eyes of a baby offers an unprecedented opportunity to really understand how they see and experience the world.”

Exploring the importance of social interaction

The piece also examines the importance of social interaction and the negative impact that child neglect can have on neural development during this crucial period.

A voiceover provided by Harvard professor of pediatrics Charles Nelson PhD guides viewers through First Impressions. The impact on brain development, behaviour and social functioning in children of social deprivation are explained. The project hopes to highlight the importance of responsive care and social interaction during this formative time.

“First Impressions is a beautiful portrayal of the first six months of life and gives viewers a real insight into a period of crucial development which we have all experienced but aren’t able to recall,” said executive editor of virtual reality at Guardian News & Media, Francesca Panetta.

It’s another example of the Guardian’s innovative storytelling through VR, using this technology as a tool to bring new experiences to life for viewers.”

First Impressions is one of a series of six in-house produced, editorially independent VR films which will launch on Daydream. 

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