VR’s greatest strength is making people have an emotional, visceral connection with whatever’s being shown, and this capability is starting to be explored in new and really interesting ways.
A new VR app, ‘A Walk Through Dementia’, recreates the experience that a dementia sufferer has in ordinary situations: ‘at the supermarket’, ‘on the road’, and ‘at home’. The aim is to help users to have a real feel for the symptoms and challenges that those with dementia experience every day.
From the intro video on the app web site:
“850,000 people live with dementia in the UK today. To defeat it, we first have to fully understand it. Alzheimer’s Research UK has created a unique VR experience to give an insight into life with dementia.”
A Walk Through Dementia is developed by Alzheimer’s Research UK. The app makes really good use of the medium, and the ‘first person’ voiceover audio is surprisingly effective at completing the understanding of the simulated experience.
It’s currently only available as an Android app for Cardboard or ‘bare phone’ viewing, although the videos are also viewable on YouTube in 360-compatible web browsers. In the app, the video is slightly jerky in my Samsung Galaxy S6, but the gyro performance in Cardboard is quite acceptable.