Use VR to help people
challenges of aging
- Virtual Reality
- Emerging Technology
SCAN Health Plan, a Medicare provider in California, had long been using their Trading Ages training program to help employees understand some of the physical and emotional challenges faced by their aging members. In the past, they used a combination of glasses, gloves and other physical devices to simulate disabilities. However, they saw the potential in using virtual reality to improve the effectiveness of the training program. Specifically, they wanted to harness its empathy-generating power to more effectively put younger audiences in their customers’ shoes, allowing them to experience what it’s truly like to deal with vision and hearing loss, and the emotional toll of living with a spouse suffering from dementia.
At the time of filming, there weren’t many 360-degree camera options that gave us the authentic first-person perspective we were after. So, we built a filming rig from scratch that allowed our Primacy “actors” to use their hands while hiding the rest of their bodies and their heads. We used it to film 3 separate 360-degree scenes in a doctor’s office, a restaurant and a home kitchen, and we used a combination of visual effects and 360-degree audio to add the desired visual and auditory disabilities to each scene. During each Trading Ages session, these scenes are played simultaneously in 25 VR headsets—all controlled by a single tablet using a remote control app we designed—so everyone gets the same experience at the same time.
The use of virtual reality has had a dramatic impact on the effectiveness of SCAN’s Trading Ages program. By limiting people’s ability to see certain details or hear certain dialogue within the scenes, we are now able to put them in an aging person’s shoes like never before.
The new Trading Ages VR program has been so impactful and has generated so much excitement that SCAN plans to extend it beyond training their own employees. We built them a custom storage container that makes it easy for them to transport the VR headsets and keep them charged at the same time—so they can bring Trading Ages on the road and share it with other organizations and communities across the country.
“In the 2 to 6 minutes that these individuals have experienced, we have gotten so much more across to them than the entire 90 minutes that it takes without virtual reality.” –Director, Community Giving, SCAN Health Plan.
Melissa's our SVP of Technology and Managing Director of our Connecticut office. She has over 15 years of experience in emerging technology, mobile and social development, custom applications, quality assurance and more. Melissa brings knowledge and insight to our internal teams and clients.Talk to Melissa