Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR) technologies are being exploiting in various health and medical fields. As per the World Health Organisation statistics, currently there are more than 55 million people living with dementia worldwide and this number is expected to continue to increase. There are different stages of dementia but in the case of the early stage, this is mainly characterized by losing track of time and forgetfulness. To help such seniors suffering from early dementia, as well as their carers and healthcare stakeholders, the EU has funded a project called VARTES to develop AR and VR examples of how this technology can be used. For instance, through VR, an elderly person can be taken back in time to re-live a memory from the past such as a historic event, or else help them to reconnect with their family by virtually reliving a family get-together. Through the VARTES project, VR Houses have been created to take the elderly back to their Childhood, Youth and Adulthood years and help them remember these experiences they lived. Similarly, AR has been used to help seniors navigate through their daily tasks to minimize safety hazards by setting AR triggers to remind them of any dangers close by – such as hearing an alarm sound prior to touching a hot appliance or seeing a warning sign on exiting the bedroom reminding them not to leave the lights on. The Maltese entity MECB Ltd (www.eumecb.com) promoting digital innovation in education, forming part of this VARTES project has been involved in the creation of a number of AR and VR case-studies. You can learn more about the VARTES project by visiting www.vartes.eu.
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