Last week I was lucky enough to get to go along to the Concert Room of St George’s Hall (Literally one of the most beautiful rooms I’ve ever seen) for the launch of Sibro VR – a totally amazing experience! Sibro are a Liverpool company who specialise in using virtual reality equipment to supplement and improve the education experience for young people, which is something I support literally 1000%. They create immersive education experiences that multiple people can experience all at once, just using a VR headset and a pair of headphones.
The launch was actually their first launch; that is to say, the first fully immersive learning experience that they have available, and it was focused all around the Battle of the Somme, a battle in the First World War.
The launch kicked off with a nice reception in the foyer of St George’s Hall – free champagne was super forthcoming, and it was really nice to get a chance to catch up with some colleagues I haven’t seen in a while (I guess you could say I ‘networked’…a rarity for me!). There was also food, which was INCREDIBLE. I’m so sad I didn’t grab pictures of it! They were canapes…but like mini meals? So a tiny cocktail sausage on a spoon of mash with a drizzle of onion gravy, slider burger, mini hotdogs, tiny pots of pasta and all sorts. I’m writing this at 8.22pm at night and I’m now absolutely starving thinking about it.
After the reception we headed up to the Concert Room, which as I’ve mentioned is literally an incredible room. For anyone who hasn’t had the chance to visit, it’s this crazy Georgian room done out in gold and cream and it’s just so classy and beautiful, definitely visit it if you get a chance.
We all got settled, and the presentation kicked off with a talk from Sibro’s MD, Gareth Abbott, about the product and the process that went into getting ready, followed by renowned historian Peter Barton, who told us about his work with veterans of WWI, how important it was for them to pass on their stories so that the younger generations don’t forget, and how virtual reality can help with this.
They then showed a trailer of what you’d actually see during the Sibro VR experience, which you can check out on their website Sibro.io and then the good bit happened! We got to get up and actually test out the virtual reality headsets….and WOW.
I have to be totally honest…I didn’t have the highest hopes. Any virtual reality stuff I’ve tried before has been, well, a bit crap. But the Sibro VR literally couldn’t have been more different! As soon as I was all geared up (the process of which made me feel kind of like an astronaut, not complaining), I was literally in a field – everything I could see or hear was just the field – Professor Barton was in front of me explaining and I really felt like I could have reached out and touched him. It was all so real! The point of virtual reality, I know. Then I turned, and part of the field turned into footage of the actual Battle of the Somme, historical archive stuff and that was insane, I think I actually jumped a little because it kind of felt like they were about to run at me – so I promptly turned back to Professor Barton, and then spent some time looking around….it was genuinely a 360 degree experience, with not even a join I could see in the footage. Though, I have to say, it was kind of weird looking down at your feet and them not being there!
To conclude then, I had an absolutely lovely time playing with the VR headsets, and can’t tell you how brilliant and immersive they actually are – if this is where education tech is going for the future, I’m super excited to be working in education, and I’m super excited for Sibro’s next launch, whatever that might be! Maybe Suffragettes? I could get on board with being a virtual reality Emmeline Pankhurst for sure.
An extra bonus for me was that every company that was involved in the creation of the product, including Ironbird, Mocha (who I’ve been lucky enough to work with a few times) and Mashbo were totally local to Liverpool! I absolutely love seeing local talent support local talent :)