Category Archives: Uncategorized

VirtuCare – Exemplar in treating Dementia with VR

VirtuCare is a form of virtual reality therapy developed by Tribemix in conjunction with the care group QuantumCare, a company formed in 2014 by a former game developer. Their product stands out as, according to their website, ‘unlike all of the other VR healthcare applications, our project is created exclusively in real-time 3D’ (VirtuCare, 2017). 

It focuses on providing a variety of experiences for patients to use, and the VirtuCare package comes with a laptop ready for VR, an Oculus Rift, 12 virtual reality scenes, training and technical support, meaning carers who are inexperienced will be given the support and training they need to integrate this form of therapy into their patients’ lives.

The product itself contains multiple VR scenes, and comes with cards that carers can use to interact with their patients whilst the patient is in the experience. One specific way their product has helped overcome illness-related challenges is through ‘increasing patient appetites with a VR experience that includes a table of delicious food’, using the virtual food to encourage them to eat in the real world.

A video demonstrating the reaction to VirtuCare can be found on this BreakingNews article, and another is linked below.

As it utilises existing VR technology in the form of the Oculus Rift, VirtuCare is a lot more similar to what my solution will be – an application designed to help dementia patients through a virtual experience. Where VirtuCare is lacking, though, is in versatility: as of May 2017, it only features 12 scenes, and has limited ways for carers to interact.

Tribemix. 2017. VirtuCare. [Online]. [24 May 2017]. Available from: http://www.virtu.care/

BuildVR – Exemplar in using VR to overcome Dementia

‘For people living with dementia, VR can offer relief by triggering memories and positive emotions, even for those in the later stages who are often responsive to very little.’, indicates the TechRepublic article (Chadwick, 2016) on how one company has been working on therapeutic methods of virtual reality, specifically targeting dementia.

BuildVR Dementia Therapy

“We went to a number of facilities across Victoria, often the same trial, the same demo, to get the feedback based on what content they would like, what they don’t like … we went through over a hundred VR experiences and then we settled on five.” says Marc Pascal, a co-founder of BuildVR (Chadwick, 2016). This shows that they did their research throughout dementia facilities to experiment and find out what they needed to work on for their application, and refined it through user testing.

There’s another show in the article of how they improved their tech through user testing: “Another thing we did was figure out how to sync a tablet with the headset, so a staff member can actually see what the resident is experiencing in real-time — that’s proven very popular too, they can help guide them and see what they like and what they don’t like.” (Chadwick, 2016) Since dementia is so varied and different users may need different things, they needed a way for it to be a more controlled experience. Giving carers/staff members the ability to see what residents are doing and thus guide them through means the carers can keep a more active role in their therapy and personalise the experience, keeping the patients away from anything that could cause harm or regress.

The BuildVR team have published a video, linked below, showing more about the effects of dementia and how their SolisVR solution helps to improve the lives of those suffering from it. It contains words from those who’ve used it with relatives suffering, and those who work as carers, as well as footage of it in use. It particularly focuses on how the reactions of those using it have been ‘unbelievable’, though it doesn’t focus much on how it’s actually working to improve their lives.

For my solution, taking inspiration from SolisVR’s principles of interactivity would be a good idea.

Chadwick, J. 2016. TechRepublic. [Online]. [24 May 2017]. Available from: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-virtual-reality-is-transforming-dementia-care-in-australia/

Solisvr. 2016. Solis: A world first in Virtual Reality for Aged Care. [Online]. [24 May 2017]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKM7A5cjguY