They want to use the technology to create virtual experiences people can enjoy at home or in care centres. The idea is to replace bouts of anxiety, agitation and depression with a distraction that is calming and engaging.
Alzheimer’s Australia Vic has teamed up with Opaque Multimedia – a Melbourne digital-design studio – to develop the technology. Similar consoles to video games will be used.
Their first project is a virtual forest, that will allow people with dementia to control their environment as they wave their arms to make the wind gust through the trees. ”It creates a complete sensory experience of sight, sound and kinetic interaction,” says Alzheimer’s Australia Vic CEO Maree McCabe. She said the virtual environment could induce ”awe, wonder, giggles, amazement and joy”.
Ms McCabe said the idea was inspired by a previous IT project aimed at helping people understand what it feels like to have dementia. She is excited about other concepts such as a beach experience or a festive Christmas scenario.
This article first appeared on ‘WA Today’ on 17 March 2014.