1. Chemy JMHT's Avatar
    The new immersive VR experience Joy aims to alleviate the loneliness of patients confined to bed for long hospital stays.

    Studies have shown such dire loneliness can lead to further health complications, so new ways of distracting patients are always being sought. The Joy app presents the user with a group of cartoon figures sitting around a campfire. Each of the characters can be selected to read a story to the others. While the set-up sounds childlike, one researcher says, Campfires are where communities gather. We wanted (the patients) for a short time to really leave their hospital environment.



    Virtual reality may be struggling to crossover into the gaming mainstream, but doctors are excited about the role it could play in medical treatment and therapy.

    In 2016, VR let clinicians step into a cancer cell, and now an immersive experience named Joy is being tested for its ability to alleviate loneliness among long-stay hospital patients.

    Built by Australian VR company Liminal and commissioned by the health insurer Medibank, it aims to provide a comforting experience for those who are unable to leave their hospital bed.

    Medibank's chief medical officer, Linda Swan told Mashable there's an emerging body of evidence that links loneliness to increased risk of disease and even slower recovery times.

    "We know it's more common for people in hospitals," she said. "We wanted to find a way to do something in the hospital setting to alleviate that feeling."

    In the experience, cartoon figures sit in a circle around a campfire. Using Google Daydream View and its hand controller, the user can select a story from a book, which one of the characters will then read aloud.

    Sami Yamin, neuroscientist and head of research at Liminal, said he hopes the campfire setting will be escapist. "Campfires are where communities gather," he said, "We wanted them, for a short time, to really leave ... their hospital environment."



    Tests with patients have now begun at Brunswick Private Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

    If you've had the chance to try a VR experience on the HTC Vive headset or a fully-fledged VR game, Joy feels fairly rudimentary in its graphics and level of interactivity.

    While she acknowledged the experience was somewhat childlike, Swan said they tried to appeal to the broadest number of people possible.

    Yamin also pointed out that it's intended for people who are mostly bed-bound, so any interactivity had to work within a small range of movement. "We were mindful there are limitations on the hospital patients and what they can do," he said. "We did not want to have them limited by any specific pain or limited movement."

    That's also why the team chose to use mobile VR over room scale VR, as well as the Daydream headset over other smartphone-enabled VR headsets.

    "The other portable [headsets] are really uncomfortable, or you have to be tapping the side of your head all the time," he said. "If someone just had shoulder reconstruction, you still want them to be able to use the experience."



    Beyond Joy, Yamin sees huge potential for VR. "I think VR is going to have a massive impact on the medical profession," he said. "Assessment and early diagnosis, to rehabilitation and ongoing recovery and pain management."

    But while room-scale VR is great in a clinical setting, he suggested the technology so far has been too expensive or inaccessible for common use in clinics or hospitals.

    There's also limited amount of appropriate content something he hopes to change.

    "The only limitation is how researchers can interact with the developers. Getting closer synergy will make all the difference," he said.

    After the trial, Medibank will decide if the program should be rolled out more broadly as part of its range of health services.

    "This is the the first VR tool that we're trying," Swan said. "We're doing remote monitoring as well. This is just one example of us looking at how technology can help members manage their health."

    Source: Virtual reality aims to transport lonely patients out of the hospital bed
    12-18-2016 11:28 PM
  2. pkcable's Avatar
    Interestingly I am giving my nephew a VR headset for Christmas, and he just got in a car accident. He's ok, but he might be laid up for a little bit. Hopefully VR can keep him entertained untill he has full mobility again! lol
    Chemy JMHT likes this.
    12-19-2016 08:00 AM
  3. Firegold21's Avatar
    Interestingly I am giving my nephew a VR headset for Christmas, and he just got in a car accident. He's ok, but he might be laid up for a little bit. Hopefully VR can keep him entertained untill he has full mobility again! lol
    That's a good idea on your part! Which headset are you giving him?

    Posted via the VRHeads App for Android
    12-19-2016 08:18 AM
  4. pkcable's Avatar
    That's a good idea on your part! Which headset are you giving him?

    Posted via the VRHeads App for Android
    Well I had to go cardboard like since he has an iPhone, BUT I did get him a fairly good one....

    https://www.amazon.com/Headset-Glass...UvrUvbUpU60039
    12-19-2016 08:28 AM
  5. Firegold21's Avatar
    Well I had to go cardboard like since he has an iPhone, BUT I did get him a fairly good one....

    https://www.amazon.com/Headset-Glass...UvrUvbUpU60052
    Those do look like good quality. They look pretty comfortable for long use, too.

    Posted via the VRHeads App for Android
    12-19-2016 10:15 AM
  6. pkcable's Avatar
    Was actually an interesting story. It retails for around 30, but on Black Friday I paid 15 for it. It was supposed to come with a remote, now mind you they say on the description that the remote does not offer much function on iOS. That comes in to play later. Ok so fast forward a few days to when it arrives, I open the package to check it out, and find the remote is missing! So I try to do a return/exchange. Amazon informs me the replacement will arrive promptly on Jan 21st!!!!! Ok this is a Christmas gift that won't work. I call Amazon, see if I can get to the root of the problem. The clerk does some research and realizes that the unit functions fine without the remote AND that the remote can be bought separately for 10 dollars, "would I be ok keeping the unit and taking a 10 dollar refund?" Remembering the description about how poorly the remote supports iOS I say "OF COURSE!" So in the end I paid 5 dollars for my nephew's present! No worries I got him a bluetooth headphones for it also, from LeEco for 1 dollar! lol
    Firegold21 likes this.
    12-19-2016 11:01 AM
  7. pjs37's Avatar
    It will certainly be very useful in this field. Especially for people under long term care. An escape from the standard hospital enviroment can only serve to improve overall patient satisfaction and in turn can speed up the recovery process.
    pkcable likes this.
    12-19-2016 12:38 PM
  8. Chemy JMHT's Avatar
    Was actually an interesting story. It retails for around 30, but on Black Friday I paid 15 for it. It was supposed to come with a remote, now mind you they say on the description that the remote does not offer much function on iOS. That comes in to play later. Ok so fast forward a few days to when it arrives, I open the package to check it out, and find the remote is missing! So I try to do a return/exchange. Amazon informs me the replacement will arrive promptly on Jan 21st!!!!! Ok this is a Christmas gift that won't work. I call Amazon, see if I can get to the root of the problem. The clerk does some research and realizes that the unit functions fine without the remote AND that the remote can be bought separately for 10 dollars, "would I be ok keeping the unit and taking a 10 dollar refund?" Remembering the description about how poorly the remote supports iOS I say "OF COURSE!" So in the end I paid 5 dollars for my nephew's present! No worries I got him a bluetooth headphones for it also, from LeEco for 1 dollar! lol
    You and your nephew are lucky I hope the accident wasn't bad at all and he recovers very quickly.

    Did you try it the app, you already have the Daydream, I think they released or something but I putted no effort to find it because I can't try it.
    12-19-2016 10:26 PM
  9. pkcable's Avatar
    I have not seen it in the store.
    12-19-2016 11:57 PM
  10. Chemy JMHT's Avatar
    I have not seen it in the store.
    I was looking all over the LiminalVR and the Medibank sites and there is no info for downloading it so I guess it's not released yet.
    12-23-2016 03:07 PM

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