Virtual Reality remedies rising challenges on the welfare area

Virtual Reality is one of the biggest technological advancements which through the past few years have had a huge importance around the world

Virtual Reality is one of the biggest technological advancements which through the past few years have had a huge importance around the world. Besides that the technology possesses qualities of entertainment character, VR is being used to solve those rising challenges on the health area.

Especially in few Danish Municipalities Virtual Reality has had a significant influence, and the opportunities to use the technology is still under construction. A Danish municipality which has put weight on innovative solutions, where Virtual Reality can contribute, is Roedovre Municipality, where Sune Buch-Sloth is a senior consultant for the area of health technology:

Virtual Reality is something which research related has been careful investigated regarding pain relief, but suddenly it has become wide available, explains Sune Buch-Sloth

Sune Buch-Sloths own interest for Virtual Reality started when he found out that there on the research area are great results in terms of treatment caused by using VR, for example in terms of treatment of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome). On the University of Southern California in USA researchers have examined the effect of Virtual Reality on soldiers with PTSD in a programme called BraveMind. By a simulation in VR, situations which caused the stress are recreated, and the soldier gets exposed with a rising degree of realism, so he can habituate to the thing that happened.

Roedovre municipality is working with VR on three different interesting health areas, where one of them appeals to citizens with dementia:

Roedovre Municipality has tested the technology with six citizens affected by dementia, who live in a care home. The purpose was to “re-experience” life situations which could seem soothing. The technical set-up has brought some problems, but despite of that it succeeded and we saw a positive effect on the six citizens. The project now exceeds to distinct research project with the participation of additional 20 citizens. In relation to this we are going to measure on reassurance and life quality. The research is being conducted by Copenhagen University College Metropol. We are also going to get a new supplier to develop a new and technical efficient solution, which fits the area.

Another VR-Project, which Roedovre Municipality is working on, concerns children and young people with autism and other learning disabilities. The project is being conducted in cooperation with Aalborg University’s Multi-Sensory Experience lab: 

The project is using VR to train children and young people to handle different situations of everyday life, which today is a huge challenge to them. The idea is to place the users in a simulated interactive 3D-environment where the aim is things which will cause unease, for example to take the bus, do shopping, start an education, handle a lot of people, etc. We hope that the experiences from VR can be transferred to the reality, and that the users will become more independent and earn a better quality of life, explains Sune Buch-Sloth

When you ask Sune Buch-Sloth about what kind of future perspectives, he sees in the use of VR on the health areas in the municipalities, he says:

Historically we have “always” been visualizing through pictures and symbols and it has been the key to transfer ideas between people and therefore, the liaison in cultures and a huge contributor in the construction of knowledge over time. The development has been huge: From cave painting over numbers and alphabet, books, pictures and video which scatters with the speed of light through the internet. With VR and AR we can do something completely new: We can communicate an idea directly from one person to another. The ability that the architect possesses in terms of visualizing a building can be transferred directly to a developer, so it becomes possible to walk around in the building, before it is even build and see how it looks on different times during the day. It gives completely new opportunities, concludes Sune Buch-Sloth

If you are interested in hearing more about Roedovre Municipality’s experiences with Virtual Reality and other interesting presentations, Technological Institute will be conducting a project day during the WHINN-week in October 2017, where you will get the opportunity to get more knowledge about Virtual Reality and its effect on the health area. 

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