VR may be fully in the gaming industry at the moment but it may well be in your hospital bed, should you ever be needing medical treatment or therapy.
A VR experience called Joy is being tested for its ability to make long staying hospital patients feel less lonely during their stay at the hospital. It is the baby of Australian VR company ‘Liminal’ and has been commissioned by a health insurance company called Medibank. Linda Swan of Medibank told Mashable that she believes that loneliness is linked to slower recovery times and an increased risk of further disease.
Joy utilises Google Daydream view and it’s controller to sit in an experience which shows users in a circle around a campfire surrounded by cartoon figures, users can then select a story form a book which then a character will read aloud to you.
Even though this experience sounds quite childlike and is at risk of alienating a lot of patients, Linda Swan stated that they are trying to appeal to as many people as possible with their VR experience. The experience is limited to those who are bed bound which is why the experience has very minimal levels of interactivity with the world that patients are transported to. This is because of the environment of where they are located and being mindful of the patients that would be using this product. This is also the reason to why the team decided to go with mobile VR technology rather than room scale technology VR.
After a trial at Brunswick Private Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, Medibank will decide if the program should be rolled out more broadly as part of its range of health services.