by Max Orozco
A local start-up, Lumeum, is bringing virtual reality technology and immersive 360 video to residents of Kingsley Manor Retirement Community in Los Angeles with the goal of empowering them with the ability to experience activities they have always wanted to achieve.
Lumeum is working with the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing, which pilots new technologies that promote wellbeing in older adults. Front Porch, one of Southern California’s largest providers of senior housing, owns and manages Kingsley Manor.
During a pilot program at the retirement community, residents wear specially designed headsets that resemble goggles and experience various thematic videos specifically shot to mimic reality. Residents have experienced a visit to the Eiffel Tower, a helicopter ride over the Great Wall of China, a Japanese lantern festival on the streets of Osaka, Japan, a tour of Iceland, a walk with elephants along the Serengeti and the Festival of San Fermin in Spain.
“As virtual reality technologically continues to progress and the general public gain access to immersive media, the reach VR has in our society will continue to expand,” said Lumeum founder Max Orozco. “Although the elderly aren’t often thought of as a primary target of new technology it is evident that individuals with limited mobility have the most to gain from this technology.”
Lumeum is building a platform to empower elderly populations with the ability to virtually travel, play sports, and watch world events. Lumeum experiences can be tailored to the user’s interests, but will mostly consist of virtual tourism and tranquil nature scenes. High resolution imaging along with low latency head tracking allows for an extremely immersive experience. Viewers don’t feel like they’re watching a movie, they feel like they’re actually there.
The following describes the experience of two Kingsley Manor residents who have tested Lumeum. Interviews are available upon request:
Keiko – Born and raised in post WWII, Japan, at the age of 24 Keiko met and married an American GI. Her traditional family disowned her, forcing her to migrate to the U.S. with her new husband. Sixty years have passed and Keiko has not be able to return to her native country. Using Lumeum, Keiko was able to experience a Japanese lantern festival and 360 video of walking the streets of Osaka. Although she can longer physically travel to Japan, Lumeum is able to virtually bring her back to her native country.
Ute – Born in East Berlin during Adolph Hitler’s reign as chancellor, Ute was unable to travel due to government restrictions. After she and her family fled to West Berlin, Ute was able to see new countries and cultures. For years she was able to fill her passport and eventually life led her to retirement at Kingsley Manor. Ute is still enamored with travel and seeing new parts of the world. In the last several weeks she has been able to virtually tour Iceland, walk with elephants along the Serengeti and attend the Festival of San Fermin in Spain.
For more information about Lumeum, visit www.lumeum.com.