Following a break in 2020, the 2021 XR Brain Jam took place online. 83 Jammers in 13 countries joined together to create 13 projects tackling topics such as medication, misinformation, body language, anxiety, and food education. For the first time all projects were uploaded to itch.io and made available to the public.
Sample 2021 Projects
Climate change is a global crisis that is upsetting all aspects of our lives. The scientific literature consistently points to the following causes:
– Disconnection from the natural environment
– Decreased capacity to care for each other (empathy)
– Diminished sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves (sense of community)
This team built a community garden for young people to help them learn about nature, climate change and other cultures by cultivating a community garden.
BreathSync is a seated VR biofeedback experience that teaches, visualizes, and encourages deep belly breathing to promote mindfulness and reduce stress. This team tackled the problem of stress by educating players about the role of deep breathing in stress reduction. Most people are “chest breathers,” which can be indicative of and contribute to heightened anxiety and stress responses (sympathetic nervous system response, aka ‘fight/flight’). Many people are unaware of the benefits of deep breathing or belly breathing, which can activate the relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system response).
PowrPsrVR is a self-positivity VR experience to increase of positive emotions and feeling of powerfulness in adolescents through the adoption of expansive bodily postures called power poses. Embodiment interventions are nonverbal experiential techniques that use the posture and movement of the body as a way to generate positive emotions. Power posing is a simple and effective manipulation that increases positive emotions and reduces negative body image. The manipulation is simple, short, and ideal for everyday practice and can help adolescents feel more powerful and positive about their bodies.
Café SereniTea is a seated VR experience for Oculus Quest tackling social anxiety and panic disorders. Social anxiety is highly prevalent in the general population and is resurgent with the recent return from isolation due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. Many people may need to learn skills to manage stressful environments and may not have professional support.
The problems the team tackled were are: How do environments influence the onset and severity of a panic attack? How can those suffering from panic attacks mitigate their symptoms? How can peers recognize attacks and assist their friends in de-escalating a panic attack by removing stressors?
The User begins with the POV of someone experiencing a panic attack who then receives coaching on how to cope with their symptoms through exercises until they can seek a safer space. Next, the POV switches to a friend witnessing the first person’s distress who then receives coaching on how to neutralize environmental stressors for their friend.