UNEP Launches Metaverse Simulator Game for Environment Protection Studies

Quick take:

  • The United National Environmental Programme’s Ozone Secretariat has launched a metaverse simulator game.
  • Dubbed Apollo’s Edition the metaverse game will be offered through the Reset the Earth Education Platform.
  • The game will provide tools and resources for educators to teach students the importance of environmental protection.

The United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Ozone Secretariat is revamping its education platform with a new metaverse-based simulator game. Dubbed, Apollo’s Edition, the game will be offered via the Reset the Earth platform, provision educators with tools and resources to teach students about protecting the environment.

The secretariat has leveraged emerging technologies including advances in motion capture and to bring a new character called Apollo to life. The programme targets students aged 13-18 years.

 The developers of the character used a motion-capture suit with 17 sensors together with a real-time 3D creation tool to reconstruct a photorealistic human portrayal of body language and facial expression.

Students are offered an opportunity to become decision-makers, making different choices about policy, with the outcomes visualised in 3D. The decisions they take are scored based on their impact on the environment, society, economy, and politics.

Commenting on the game, Meg Seki, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat said: “By giving young people innovative learning tools, we hope to inspire them to become the future scientists and policy-makers championing environmental protection.”

The game will also allow teachers to vary the content to achieve certain goals with lessons in short video formats, group activities and individual assignments.

Despite its nascent state, the metaverse is quickly becoming a widely accepted medium for offering educational programs. Several educational institutions have already embraced the technology with the likes of Draper University, Wharton Business School, and Japanese non-profit organisation Katariba among the early adopters.

The metaverse is described as a 3D virtual space where people can interact immersively through gaming, attending virtual events and trading digital merchandise.

Although companies like Microsoft’s HoloLens already explored educational applications of augmented reality technologies, the industry started trending in October 2021 when Facebook decided to rebrand to Meta Platform in a nod to the new direction the social media conglomerate was taking.

Since then, several companies have joined the race, with NGOs and non-profit organisations like the UN becoming the latest entrants.

Like many organisations that have launched metaverse-based projects, UNEP is targeting the next generation of internet users as it seeks to create “awareness among the climate champions of the future to Reset Earth.”

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