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Could VR tech make a child's dying wishes come true?

VR headset using an Android phone

For over a year I have had the honour of being responsible for delivering 2 new web platforms for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH), the hospital and charity websites. During that time I've witness and learnt so much about the exemplary way they care for children, their families from both a medical and pastoral perspective. The good news is that now, using open source content management system called Drupal, they are now in a position to have a web presence which adequatley supports and reflects their internationally celebrated work.

One of the inevitable aspects of treating children with the most severe illnesses is sadly not every child can be made better. It is a reality which has hit me hard the whole time I've worked for GOSH.

Whilst I was at DrupalCon Los Angeles I met Joe Caccavano, CMO at Phase2, who was showing me an curious device having 6 GoPro array of cameras strapped together into a single head. With it something remarkable is possible. Watching footage taken during the conference with the GoPros using a VR headset (just an android phone) allowed me to immerse myself into a virtual world - try it for yourself. For those of you who have tried this, perhaps you shared my pulse raising hair on the back of your neck standing up reaction. It literally felt like I was there, on the drone from which the footage had been shot.

That moment I had an epiphany. I thought about sick children, how film and TV personalities generously visit them or send video messages with well wishes. What if the GoPro camera array captured a child's idol speaking to the camera as if it were the child? Using the child's name, speaking to them (well the camera). Imagine how lifting that would be to a kid, who perhaps couldn't leave bed or due to infection risk couldn't have visitors. They could repeat the experience too. How amazing would that be? Not only this, busy stars could do shoots from anywhere in the world.

The great news is that thanks to Google the technology to watch these films is now so cheap anyone can afford it - £4.99! All that remains is for someone to try my idea out. I will certainly be letting GOSH know of the concept, perhaps you know of a children's hospital or hospice who could do the same.

If this idea has inspired you please share it on social media, with your help maybe the idea will reach someone who could make it happen.

Let's All Build a Hat Rack

There's no denying volunteers are the beating heart of open source projects. Without the countless hours invested by thousands of dedicated people projects like Drupal would not have achieved such great strides forward.

In a recent article I spoke about the unsung heroes of Drupal and how I felt they should be celebrated better. This week I read an article "A Place to Hang Your Hat" by @lhawthorn and it really resonated. I encourage you to take a look.

If someone has volunteered to help your project, take the time to write a 2-3 sentence summary of what they did to help.

If we all do as Leslie suggests (Tweet a thank you using #LABHR, write a linkedIn recommendation, send the individual an email) what a wave of positivity would sweep through the (Drupal) community.

So I've started by writing a recommendation for Baris Wanschers on LinkedIn. What will you do? Who will you thank?

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