Using VR to Better the Lives of Others
Virtual Reality gaming is incredibly fun. Applying Virtual Reality technology to Architectural design and visualisation is exciting and really impressive. Utilising Virtual Reality to significantly better the lives of others, however, adds another level of meaning and purpose to what we do as 3D visualisers.
Last year, we partnered with Edinburgh-based Architects Aitken Turnbull as well as Hammond Care Dementia Centre to develop the VR-EP (Virtual Reality Empathy Platform). The idea was to combine architectural know-how with Dementia expertise, and our CGI experience, to create a device that could potentially change how Architects & Designers approach dementia design.
For individuals living with Dementia, life becomes increasingly difficult as cognitive and perceptual problems arise, which can make interpreting the world around them a lot more problematic. If the design of the spaces in which they reside does not take these factors into consideration, life can become increasingly difficult for them.
For Architects, factors such as trip hazards, material changes and colour contrasts play a large role in influencing care home design. However, without fully understanding how an individual living with Dementia can see, it limits their ability to truly design from empathy.
This is where VR-EP changes the game. It takes the knowledge that doctors and academics have had about Dementia, and brings it to life through the use of VR technology. By wearing a VR headset, a user is immersed in a 3D environment onto which a visual filter is applied, instantly putting them into the shoes of someone living with Dementia.
Using this information, Architects and Designers are able to make better informed decisions, and therefore design spaces with the user in mind. This results in spaces being built in which people living with Dementia can feel more confident, more relaxed, and more independent.
Moreover, the device can be used as a tool for staff training, providing them with a deeper understanding of how residents live and feel each day.