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Startup VRTU to tackle Dementia Using Virtual Reality

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by Startacus Admin

vrtuVirtual reality can be used for travelling to other worlds to shoot aliens, bringing Vikings back to life, ride roller coasters, or even as the central feature of a theme park!

But it can be used for far more important, real world things too.

We have written previously about how virtual reality can and will
take a role in various areas of our lives, including medicine and education, however there is now a VR startup tackling one of the most frightening waking nightmares in today’s society: dementia.

UK-based VRTU uses virtual reality to approach reminiscence therapy in a new way. Reminiscence therapy is a method by which dementia patients are exposed in some way to stimulus that helps to unlock feelings, emotions, or memories. This can be anything from simply music from a period of their life to the amazing work some have put into creating entire villages for dementia patients to live normal lives. VRTU offers an app to do this job, with a range of experiences designed to stimulate cognition.

vrtu The app works on an average smartphone, which is then put into any mobile VR headset. The wide range of experiences to choose from means that it can be tailored for each patient, with a customised playlist to go along with it. If a trip on an Oxford steam train in 1955 isn’t up the patient’s alley, perhaps a 1959 San Francisco house will be. There is a companion app for others to share the experience, and this includes information on things in the scene, as well as prompts to encourage conversation and trigger memories.

Real world locations set up to look and function like places from patients’ younger days have proven very beneficial to their cognition, but for patients who cannot benefit from these few locations, a virtual reality environment as offered by VRTU sounds like it could be the next best thing.

So far so good for VRTU too, with industry awards coming from the Skoll Centre Awards at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School where the VRTU team of Arfa Rehman (CEO), Scott Gorman (CTO) and Christopher Larson (CMO) studied an MBA, and they also bagged the champions title of the inaugural App Factor UK competition this March run by App development company @iOasys_UK

We look forward to seeing where this innovative VR startup heads next, and wish the team well with their entrepreneurial endeavours going forward...

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Published on: 9th July 2017

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