The latest virtual reality (VR) project from the Guardian allows audiences to experience and interact with the world from the point of view of a baby.

Based on the latest research about neural development and colour vision in infants, First Impressions is able to demonstrate the visual development that happens throughout the first year of life.

"We were thinking about situations or places that we could put the audience in that you wouldn't normally be able to access," said Nicole Jackson, commissioning editor on multimedia, the Guardian.

"Everybody has been a baby but no one can remember that period – the most crucial period of our development."

The experience is designed to let the viewer relive this time, witnessing the scene around them gradually change from blurry, muted colours to a vibrant, 3D room with human interaction.

"We worked with Nicola Davis, our science reporter, who carried out the colour research for us about the changes that happen in a baby's vision," she said.

The voice of Charles Nelson, professor of pediatrics at Harvard, guides viewers through the experience as they see actors, as their parents, interact with them.

Nelson explains the impact on brain development, behaviour and social functioning in children if they are deprived of responsive care and social interaction during their first year of life.

"We wanted to do this piece because we felt it was important to give people a range of VR experiences, she said, noting the piece is a more enjoyable experience than that of previous projects 6x9 and Underworld.

Viewers, who can watch the project on Daydream View, Google’s virtual reality platform, are able to get the baby to make noises by clicking a button on the headset's remote.

"We wanted to give audiences some agency in the piece, because we felt that it would make it more believable that they were in that environment," she said, noting that the viewers are often put in the position where no one is responding to them, mimicking a busy household.

"We only put interactivity in towards the end because when you are first born you are helpless, so to have viewers clicking and not getting a response is probably accurate to how it must feel.

"Then when you are a six to 12 months old in the experience, you press the clicker and your mother comes over and it feels as if you are in a dialogue with her.

"We felt like it was helpful to highlight that small interactions with your child can make a huge difference to aiding neural development."

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