VRcadia hosts virtual reality event for seniors
Credit: CYNTHIA KACZALA
Seniors traversed the world without leaving their seat in Cherryhill Mall with assistance from VRcadia staff.
On June 27, VRcadia held an event at Cherryhill Village Mall with VR demonstrations aiming towards senior members of the community.
“As a company, exploring how VR fits in to every kind of person’s life is important. The senior’s demographic is especially relevant when it comes to VR [because] it really expands the possibility of what one can do and for people who are getting older,” said Daniel Kharlas, VRcadia’s general manager. “[Having] mobility challenges, it’s hard for them to travel and to do some of the things they want to do. VR opens that up wide, where they can travel to anywhere in the world. We want to be able to see how we can deliver that experience the best way by having conversations with people who might try this eventually in their lives.”
The event was open to the public and free. People would come in, get informed about what types of experiences were available, and got set up in a headset. They were then guided through the experience, and afterwards had a conversation with a staff member about what they thought.
Visitors could try explorative/nature/relaxing/travelling experiences with games such as Google Earth VR, fitness with Beat Sabre, a flying experience and painting with Tilt Brush. After participants were done, they would fill out a survey and give any opinions they had about VR in general.
In general, most participants seemed to find the VR experience interesting and something different from what they would normally try. Mike Sukava, one of the visitors to the event, has a history with working with VR and came to the event to see how technology had changed since he worked with it about 40 years ago.
Sukava said that it was a “different perspective from before, and was a lot of fun”. When asked about what game he was playing (Tilt Brush) he said, “I wasn’t playing the games. I don’t find those so intriguing as the ones where you exercise your own creativity. It was fairly intuitive and pretty straight forward to use”.
A staff member at the event mentioned a lady who used to live on a base in Honolulu, and how she got excited when trying the beach experience because it reminded her of that time. This experience expresses how VR could be applied to cases of Alzheimer’s and similar memory related conditions to help them jog their memory or let them relive their nostalgia without direct travel.
The results and data gathered from the event will help development for VRcadia’s Virtual Reality Centres project, which is a virtual recreation ecosystem for aging populations to improve the quality of life of seniors through mental health.
Photos below courtesy of Cynthia Kaczala.