The start-up Live-Out, based near Saint-Brieuc, has been developing an ambitious project for a year: using virtual reality travel to combat the depression that strikes elderly people in retirement homes. Landscapes from the island of La Réunion, among others, were used.
Live-Out: a startup that uses virtual reality differently
The young startup Live-Out wants to develop leisure and entertainment solutions. So, after having proposed Escapad 360, here is a new trip. This time, the use of virtual reality is aimed at fighting depression and Alzheimer’s disease. An ambitious project by Vincent Gérard. With his two partners, they want to “break the depression that affects 33% of residents in retirement homes.
A trip to Reunion Island or a parachute jump
Among the lucky ones who have been able to test this technology is 94-year-old Hélène. The experience seems to have been successful for her. Once the virtual reality headset is removed, she explains that it’s just like she remembers. Indeed, the Live-Out helmet projected her on the island of La Réunion. For his part, René, 87 years old, goes for a walk in Paris and then on the Breton coast. Another, more daring, is tempted by a parachute jump. In addition, a 360 degree immersion is guaranteed, headphones on, for a few minutes of escape.
A successful experience in 90% of cases
A first prototype was soon produced. Moreover, to test it, the startup turned to the hospital of Tréguier. “Initially, it was a caregiver who tried it. Then a patient. He hadn’t spoken for several months. When he put on the helmet, he was happy, he told us an anecdote related to what he had felt”, reports Vincent Gérard. However, this first successful experience is far from being the last. Indeed, he adds that “more than 70 people have tried the experiment. In more than 90% of cases, it works, it puts a smile on your face.
Journeys… and memories
What could be better than to marvel at the landscapes of Reunion Island? However, the startup also takes seniors around the world. For many, it brings back memories. In addition, a personalized service is offered to those for whom it is intended. “In Tréguier, some of the patients wanted to relive the Pardon de la Saint-Yves,” says Vincent Gérard. “Others preferred to skydive, or simply enjoyed the feeling of walking again.”
Fighting Alzheimer’s disease by stimulating memory
Lasting from 2 to 8 minutes, these virtual reality trips would improve the quality of life of patients. The project’s creator even maintains that “contrary to what we think, older people have been immersed in innovation. They are born experimenters. This high-tech innovation, also aims to help stem the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease by stimulating memory.