Artificial Intelligence is an increasingly popular topic of interest, but not everyone is sold on the benefits. Many have raised concerns about machinery taking over jobs and the potential consequences of machine learning. However, some view AI in a more positive light and use advanced technology to help others, including homebound elderly.
MyndVR, a company that develops virtual reality (VR) therapy treatments, is now focusing on using AI to help homebound elderly who cannot experience the world by bringing the world to them via immersive environments.
“A lot of what we do is 360 content, provide experiences and applications, modules that give a resident the opportunity to potentially get out of the four walls of the facility, whether that be in travel or Broadway shows or experiencing things that they may have experienced in their earlier life,” MyndVR’s Chief Operating Officer Dave Rawlins explained. “We want to bring the world to residents who otherwise can’t experience the world.”
The VR company released a lightweight headset in 2016 that allows users to engage in gamified environments. This helps users relax and distracts them from stressful therapy sessions. The VR headset enables them to do things they can no longer physically do and boost their moods.
“We are today deployed in just over 400 facilities. So, we obviously have a pretty large installed base today, but one that’s growing and one that, as we look to address these particular subsectors, we’re very excited about the opportunity,” Rawlins said.
MyndVR is currently focusing on hospice care and home health but has also helped veterans cope with PTSD by providing emotional comfort and cognitive engagement, according to a press release regarding last year’s collaboration with Bowlers to Veterans Link (BVL).
The primary difference between MyndVR’s design and other VR headsets, including Oculus, is that MyndVR’s technology is built for older users, with lighter-weight headsets and external controls with a tablet that counselors can use to control the experiences as the user needs. MyndVR’s technology focuses on connectivity, and the company plans to implement AI processing to help improve performance and realism in environments. Another goal is to enable users to interact with family members or friends in other facilities within the virtual world and engage in activities together.
According to Rawlins, “The key to doing this correctly is making sure we have love, care and compassion as a big part of that, and we never want to outsource our care of our seniors to a machine.”