Two entertainment companies are partnering to offer a virtual reality film based on the Gospel of John titled “7 Miracles” to senior citizens who are isolated by the ongoing lockdowns aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
In response to the new coronavirus, many senior living communities were put on lockdown to prevent the disease from wreaking havoc on the elderly.
MyndVR, a company that specializes in VR entertainment for seniors, and HTC VIVE, a VR platform, announced the partnership last week.
Jerry Carley, CEO of Benedictine, a nonprofit senior care provider, was reportedly the first entity to show “7 Miracles” to its older adult community.
“MyndVR allows our residents to connect with the Gospel of John in a genuinely meaningful way,” said Carley in the announcement. “From healing the sick boy to feeding the multitudes, virtual reality is a very innovative way to bring the scripture to life.”
MyndVR founder and CEO Chris Brickler told The Christian Post that he felt “fortunate to be working with HTC VIVE,” labeling them “the world’s most advanced VR company.”
“They invited us into a very exclusive program, VIVE X, to help startups, like us, get off the ground with funding along with technical and content resources,” said Brickler.
“I think what further attracted us to HTC was their inherent commitment to improving people’s lives using VR in various healthcare and wellness settings.”
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Brickler told CP that MyndVR was “already taking orders” for the film and said they were “exceeding our projections.”
“We have engaged the spiritual leadership teams with several faith-based communities and the feedback has been overwhelming,” he continued.
“This is one of the most creative ways in human history to adapt the scripture to modern, VR technology. As an example, when Jesus feeds the multitudes, our viewers are deeply immersed in this experience with the added narrative from the Gospel of John.”
Brickler’s company focuses on providing VR entertainment for older adults, offering experiences ranging from educational programming such as National Geographic to music and arts with Disney.
The company also states that its products can provide mental health and quality of life benefits, having posted online testimonials from facilities that are using the products.
“In one case, a resident living with Alzheimer’s exhibited personality traits she had prior to the diagnosis, including dancing, smiling and singing,” said Brian Barnes, CEO of The Blakeford based in Nashville, Tennessee, according to the website.
“Another resident felt relief from symptoms of Parkinson’s. The overall response has impressed everyone involved.”
Geoff Tunnicliffe, former secretary-general of World Evangelical Alliance and co-founder of Oikos International, complimented the “7 Miracles” film in a CP column published last year.
“At the Wedding at Cana, you find yourself in a celebration with finely dressed guests, laughing, dancing, eating and drinking,” wrote Tunnicliffe.
“As the miracle of water to wine unfolds, you feel like you’re right there in the action. You can turn in every direction and see the room and the people around you.”
Regarding the overall impact virtual reality might have on religious practices, Tunnicliffe went on to conclude that he believed the new technology “will enhance it, not detract from it.”
“Regardless of where technology might take us, what will never change is the fact that we were created and redeemed by a God who loves us. God knows where we’re heading, and He’s already there,” he concluded.