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Enliven - the virtual reality startup dedicated to social good

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by Startacus Admin


The lowdown on Enliven, the Arnhem-based startup that's using game technology and VR to provide the next generation of empathy training and education.

download (1We mentioned recently that machines lack an understanding of emotion. They lack empathy. The truth, of course, is that plenty of human beings also, to one degree or another, lack some empathy. We may sympathise with someone, but we might not be able to empathise - to really put ourselves in their shoes and see things from their perspective - and this can result in less compassion than that person might otherwise be capable of. The difference between sympathy and empathy is a fairly significant one, and empathy is not only more important, it is harder to come by.

Dutch startup Enliven wants to give people experiences that will help them develop more empathy. These experiences are delivered via virtual reality. Although we have written in the past about VR being used for training purposes, the technology is best known for gaming. This is because it is so engrossing, engaging, and immersive. That immersiveness is what makes it such a good tool for providing empathy-building experiences.

Enliven_03-Discriminatie_StillThe whole point is to help people to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, so what better way than to provide an immersive experience that does just that? Whether those shoes are of a child stuck in the middle of a divorce, someone being bullied at school, someone in a domestic abuse situation, of someone facing discrimination or harassment, or many others, Enliven’s VR experiences can be a powerful tool to help cultivate empathy.

With these experiences, the startup hopes to not only increase general empathy, but also to help change the behaviour of those who may have something like discriminatory tendencies and stop that in its tracks, as well as assist in the probation and rehabilitation of people who have been prosecuted for their actions, as part of training and education programmes.

Enliven recently announced that it had raised €1 million in a funding round led by LUMO Labs and Oost NL. This funding will help the startup expand their reach as well as the number of different situations of which they can offer experiences.

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Published on: 29th September 2022

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