Today, HTC announced a new "VR for Impact" program, an effort meant to excel virtual reality's potential as a humanitarian tool. The company has pledged US$10 million for industry partners and developers whose efforts support the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

HTC is the manufacturer behind the HTC Vive headset, one of the leaders in consumer VR. Thanks to its partnership with the software and gaming company Valve, there is already an extensive library of content for the HTC Vive. However, the content is largely entertainment-focused and educational experiences are less common. The VR for Impact program represents a focused effort to make VR a true change maker.

Based on existing VR applications, this goal is entirely plausible. For example, the app Within is already partnering with major media companies to present immersive, evocative VR news and documentary content. Healthcare, training, and self-help tools are also emerging. As a whole, VR is poised to become a widespread computing platform, far beyond gaming.

The UN's Sustainable Development Goals encompass humanitarian goals in a variety of areas, such as poverty, hunger, environmental sustainability and reduced inequality. Through the VR for Impact program, developers have a wide range of potential goals to work toward.

VR for Impact is recruiting potential development partners through its website. The first round of winning projects will be announced on April 22 (Earth Day) 2017.