- Finland's annual May Day celebration in the capital of Helsinki was cancelled because of coronavirus.
- Virtual reality company Zoan created a virtual version of Helsinki that anyone can access.
- The city hosted a virtual gathering and concert to celebrate May Day, and more than 10% of Finland's population tuned in.
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The country hasn't been hit especially hard by the coronavirus, but a city-wide party could be a big setback. Traditionlly, as many as a hundred thousand people gather in only a few parks. The city of Helsinki formed a partnership with VR company Zoan, which had already been working on virtual Helsinki, host a concert.
Finland has a population of around six million, and 700,000 viewers tuned into the virtual concert, according to the city of Helsinki, meaning that nearly 12% of the country watched the event. Of those attendees, 150,000 went beyond just watching and created avatars to participate.
Stanley G. Weinbaum is a well-known science fiction writer from 1930’s told us about this technology in his short story named Pygmalion’s Spectacles. His work made him a true visionary in the field of Virtual Reality. The story shares the idea that the wearer of the goggles can experience fictional worlds, even before the official term was coined.
Here's what the first virtual May Day was like.