Shock VR video to warn Edinburgh kids against joyriding
The wonders of virtual reality can now transport users to far flung corners of the world with just the flick of a switch.
But the technology, usually associated with gaming, will now be used to drive home the potentially lethal hazards of joyriding to Pilton’s youngsters.
Virtual reality social enterprise Viarama has teamed up with the Spartans Community Football Academy to target kids tearing through the streets of north Edinburgh by highlighting the horror consequences when it goes wrong.
The project will use virtual reality cameras to film a stuntman recreating a motorbike crash.
The teenagers, wearing virtual reality headsets and headphones will be immersed in the scenario, seeing the situation play out from the biker’s perspective.
The action will then guide the kids to a funeral followed by a mocked up trial in which the rider will be sent to prison.
Motorcycle crime has blighted the city in recent years leaving residents living in Pilton and Muirhouse terrified and too scared to leave their homes in fear of being run over by rogue teenagers riding stolen bikes.
And dangerous joyriding has had horrific consequences.
In June last year 14-year-old Brad Williamson suffered fatal injuries when he was thrown from the bike he was riding in Silverknowes.
More recently, motorbike thieves mowed down a ten-year-old boy at a pedestrian crossing, causing horrific injuries.
Founder of Viarama Billy Agnew said kids have become desensitised to all traditional forms of media and a new approach may be the key to hammering the message home.
He said: “We can reach the kids that otherwise can’t be reached through virtual reality.
“It will put them inside the situation and up close to a very real scenario – they will not be not be an observer like with TV but “in” the scene.
“Spartans is a fantastic organisation that helps a lot of people in the area and when they reached out to us, it is a project I know can have a real impact.
“There is a serious problem with motorbike crime and also Spartans told us it is often a gateway to a life of crime for the kids in the area.”
The project is still in the planning stages and Viarama, who normally take the virtual worlds to schools, nursing homes, hospices and hospitals, are looking for funding to be able to make it a reality.
Billy added: “By hook or by crook we’ll get the funds to do this – and hopefully when it’s complete we’ll be able to reach children in schools and community groups across the country I think it can help redress the problem.”
Police continue to run initiatives throughout the city to tackle youth bike crime.