The next time you see adolescents holding up cell phones around Road Town, don’t automatically assume that they’re just looking for Pokémon.
Members of the Youth Empowerment Project’s technology-based initiative YEP Tech are using smart phones this summer to document different sites around the territory for ProjectBVI360.
Using the Google Cardboard application, members are able to take 360-degree photographs, which can later be observed by placing the smartphone in a Google Cardboard viewer — which is literally made of cardboard — for a virtual reality experience.
“Be prepared to be immersed,” said 11-year-old Kai Christopher, as he demonstrated how to use the viewer.
Neither Mr. Christopher nor his project partner Kendi Brewley, 12, found the technology overly complicated to learn, and both boys agreed they have enjoyed working on the project.
“It’s like saving memories,” Mr. Christopher said.
Yep Tech volunteer Anne Reil explained that the students have documented various sites, including the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island, The Baths on Virgin Gorda, and beaches on Anegada.
On Monday, however, members stayed on Tortola and recorded images of The BVI Beacon’s office and the outside of Peebles Hospital.
Ms. Reil said the members are enthused about the project, and are looking forward to sharing their work with the community at a public presentation from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow atNoel Lloyd Positive Action Park.
According to Stacy Mather, the executive director of YEP, learning about virtual reality technology has been an “awesome experience” for the students.
“We’ve always been interested in bringing technology to our children that they have not been exposed to yet,” he said.
Mr. Mather added that it has been a successful summer for YEP, with about 120 children enrolled in various programmes.
“I’m still hoping and wishing that we could expand to other communities,” he said.
YEP is a privately funded youth centre that aims to inspire young people to pursue educational experiences that will help them become socially responsible citizens, according to the organisation’s website.
“Their creativity level is just awesome; it’s top notch,” Ms. Reil said.
The volunteer explained that she became involved with the centre’s YEP Tech programme because she enjoys sharing her technological knowledge with children, and she encouraged others to do the same
“They’re always looking for community volunteers,” she remarked.