Startups are beginning to utilize virtual reality (VR) enabled technologies in the healthcare industry to help patients in hospitals recover faster during their rehabilitation programs.
Using VR as Therapy
On June 24, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Swibo, a highly anticipated startup within the nations healthcare scene, has begun to integrate VR within its various rehabilitation programs.
One product that is currently being tested by hospitals across Australia is the ‘Swibo Tilt’. It is essentially a smartphone attached to a wobble board with a mobile application that measures the movements, balance, and weight distribution of the patient while playing racing and zombie chasing games.
A Closer Look At the Product
Ben Dunn, the founder of Swibo, said that the primary vision of the company is to use technologies like VR and holograms to alter the rehabilitation and recovery process to ensure that patients enjoy their daily routines and are willing to perform the tasks required by healthcare centers to recover fully.
“We know balance training is good for recovering from injury and preventing injuries like ankle sprains, but the compliance rate is low, so we turned something mundane into something engaging and measurable. The physio can use the data to track your progress and see what areas you’re focusing on, they can look for differences and minimise the asymmetry”, Dunn said.
Over the past few months, Swibo has been extensively collaborating with ProjectR, a VR and augmented reality startup that houses projects such as Swibo to improve the healthcare sector with the help of virtual reality-based products.
Most recently, ProjectR has been working with New Zealand’s Breast Cancer Foundation in order to develop a VR therapy that reduces the pain suffered by women during their clinical treatments. By projecting peaceful environments such as beaches with small waves and birds chirping in the mountains, ProjectR has learned that breast cancer patients react positively to VR experiences and in the process feel much less pain.
For a long time, the use of VR was strictly limited to games and entertainment applications. However, over the past few months, emerging startups have started to leverage the potential of VR to help patients recover from serious illnesses.
Owing to the continuous improvements made to existing hardware such as the Samsung Gear VR, Oculus VR, many experts believe that VR will allow for better and more sophisticated treatments in the healthcare industry.