• Home
  • News
  • Metaverse 2030: Experiencing the SDGs in virtual reality
Metaverse 2030: Experiencing the SDGs in virtual reality featured image

Metaverse 2030: Experiencing the SDGs in virtual reality

By ITU News

Last week’s Global Standards Symposium (GSS) saw the launch of a new prize competition inviting young people to create virtual experiences to raise awareness about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Marcus Shingles, co-founder and CEO of competition organizer Exponential Destiny, made the announcement during his GSS keynote in Geneva, Switzerland on 28 February.

Shingles was joined by the young people who designed his US-based organization’s Metaverse for SDGs Global Prize and VR Competition. The participant or team who creates the best “SDG experience” using virtual reality (VR) technology will receive a USD 30,000 cash prize.

The SDGs in VR

The Exponential Destiny team is training young people “to code the next generation of the Internet”, with a broader aim of accelerating progress on the SDGs – the 17 key goals adopted by the UN for 2030.

Starting with VR technology training, the programme educates and upskills participants from a low-income background to help them escape cycles of poverty.

Immersive VR experiences can be designed with “no-code programming”, using a visual interface that is more accessible for new learners, Shingles said.

Demand for digital skills is expected to grow rapidly as more businesses look to create applications for the metaverse – an entirely virtual network of 3D “worlds” focused on real-time social connection and interaction.

“The window of opportunity to capitalize on these skills is now,” said Kevin Vega, a 20-year-old college student and VR education beneficiary who now mentors others at Exponential Destiny.

How to compete

Are you or students you know interested in learning more about the SDG metaverse competition? Here’s how to get involved:

  • Who can participate?
    • Students from two categories – aged 14 to 18, or post-secondary students aged 19 and older – may enter as part of a team of 2–6 individuals. Teams can be located anywhere in the world.
  • How can teams enter?
    • Student teams can use one of several free Metaverse Virtual Reality platforms to build and create immersive experiences around their chosen SDG. More information and entry instructions can be found on the competition website.
  • When is the competition running?
    • Teams will have from 1 March to 1 August 2022 to bring one SDG “to life”, specifically by creating an immersive and experiential learning environment in VR.
  • How is the winner determined?
    • 34 teams – representing the two age categories for each of the 17 SDGs – will go on to enter the grand finals in October 2022. There, the entry deemed “Overall Best Experience of Show” will be awarded the grand cash prize and honours. More information on the evaluation process can be found on the competition website.
Metaverse experiences at WTSA Expo

Throughout last week, delegates attending the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) in Geneva interacted with technology demos at an expo running in parallel to WTSA.

Live demonstrations gave delegates at this key gathering of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) the chance to learn from students already embarked on the Exponential Destiny journey.

The students had designed creative worlds in the metaverse based on a variety of topics, from mental health to responsible consumption.

The expo alongside WTSA featured exhibitors from around the globe, highlighting innovations in areas including:

  • Blockchain-based secure authentication
  • Low-latency optical access solutions
  • Quality of service and experience in mobile networks
  • Datacentre liquid cooling
  • Centralized marketplace systems.

Watch the ITU Facebook Live to see all the expo exhibitors and demos.

Related content