Exploring the next frontier of innovation by way of virtual reality.

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to fly, or swim in the deepest depths of the ocean? What it looks like standing at the highest lookout point of the Grand Canyon, or at the top of the Eiffel Tower? What if you were able to travel to ancient and foreign lands, even outer space?

Virtual Reality (VR) allows users to interact with their virtual “environment,” creating immersive, sensory experiences in 3D, 360° visual simulations. New, cutting-edge VR applications are making inroads in a wide range of sectors and industries, from entertainment to healthcare. Immersive gaming, travel/tourism experiences, mental health/relaxation methods, and even physical and occupational therapy are just some of the ways that VR is making a difference today.

The Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing (FPCIW) is actively exploring VR technologies to address the needs of older adults. Whether it is the satisfaction of checking off a lifelong “bucket list” wish, creating rehabilitation and mobility exercises by linking haptic feedback sensors, utilizing pain and stress reduction methods in skilled nursing settings, or reliving beautiful and happy memories that were once forgotten, virtual reality technologies offer the possibility of creating meaningful experiences and changing the way we deliver care.

Samsung VR. Employing Samsung Gear VR headsets, FPCIW is investigating ways that VR can be an effective intervention for older adults in both clinical and non-clinical environments including skilled nursing, memory care, Assisted Living, and Independent Living.

3Scape. 3scape Systems has developed a 3-D immersive video experience and content based on reminiscence therapy that stimulates the mind, relieves boredom, connects emotions and senses, and links memories. FPCIW introduced a 3scape screening with residents at Sunny View Retirement Community to great effect.

Virtual Reality for Occupational Therapy. Virtual Reality (VR) is emerging as a potential tool in healthcare applications for stroke rehabilitation. To study how VR affects the neural mechanisms of learning and plasticity with a focus on the older adult population, FPCIW is collaborating with the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy’s Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory to collect usability data from residents of Villa Gardens and  OASIS community members.

Lumeum VR. Addressing the link between limited mobility and mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, Lumeum “brings VR to those who need it most.” The company strives to develop an effective, creative intervention by guiding older adult users through novel virtual reality environments that many with limited mobility may not otherwise be able to experience. In collaboration with FPCIW, Lumeum has been piloting its solution with residents of Kingsley Manor.

Browse our Virtual Reality photo gallery.

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