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Bringing Palau Home

While the Bing Overseas Studies Program was in progress, members from Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL) headed to Palau to present an immersive virtual reality experience about ocean acidification to members of the Palauan National Congress. The pair also worked with students to find stressed coral to film video for a new VR experience that about the impacts of climate change.

“At the meeting, we showed the Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience, but we were also able to show the senators and delegates footage from their actual reefs,” said Tobin Asher, a lab manager with communication Professor Jeremy Bailenson,  founding director of VHIL. “This was special because a lot of the members of the Palauan National Congress had never been in the water in their own backyard.” Tobin travelled to Palau with Elise Ogle, a project manager with VHIL.

A few hours after they saw this footage and heard briefings from marine experts, the congress members all signed a statement of intent to continue funding the research center and research on the coral reefs.