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Virtual reality day-tripping

October 26, 2017
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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Want to take your residents on a day-trip to New York City or the Florida Keys?  How about a quick visit to Paris before dinner?

MyndVR, a startup launched by alumni from the University of Texas at Dallas, has created a library of virtual reality (VR) films that can be accessed with a VR headset or smartphone-based goggles. The content can be customized to target certain physical or cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration and others.

The MyndVR team filmed many of the locations themselves, tailoring the scenes to appeal to seniors. The software is designed with unique menus and controllers that are easy for seniors to use, allowing them to navigate and interact with the virtual scene in their own way.

Residents benefit from more than just memory triggers, developers say. The virtual experience improves mood and can increase socialization and interaction, encouraging the viewer to join in with the actions, visuals and sounds of the scene—whether they are petting an elephant at the zoo or singing along with a chorus line on Broadway.

“We are passionate about helping older adults, and we understand the kind of content that works for them,” said Chris Brickler, co-founder and CEO of MyndVR, in a company release. “We feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction in seeing firsthand the difference that virtual reality can make in a person’s life. During recent successful field trials, we watched people connect with the world around them and remember times from years past all while smiling and feeling inner satisfaction. It is heartwarming to see how happy participants are during and after an experience.”

The company is currently working on clinical trials to measure the therapeutic effects of VR and its impact on seniors’ emotional, cognitive and physical wellbeing.

Watch the Oct. 17, 2017 MyndVR Ted Talk here.

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