Medical Students Empathizing With Elderly People With The Help Of Virtual Reality

A virtual reality experience changes the user into a 74-year-old called Alfred in order to see his perspective as a medical patient He’s talking to you, but you can’t listen to him clearly. There’s a big black smudge where his face should be, so you’re incapable to really read his lips. What he’s speaking is important, so you lean in. But you’re frustrated as you try to understand what’s going on.

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You’re feeling life through the eyes of a 74-year-old patient named Alfred, 7 minutes in the shoes of an old man whose audio-visual impairments are mis-diagnosed as cognitive ones and a story that students across many controls have worked together to create.

Carrie Shaw, a master’s student in biomedical visualization and content creator of the case study named, (We Are Alfred) said; we’re trying to represent different kinds of medical conditions, sensory settings from the first-person perspective of a patient, the project was the centre of Shaw’s research this year. It got first place in the Art/Design/Humanities & Social Sciences Division among graduate student designs at the UIC Research Forum, and the Vesalius Trust Scholarship Award.

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Their goal was to work on an interactive, experiential product that could be worked for curriculum in geriatrics. The health and care of aged people, because of predicted extension in future U.S. aging populations and a divide between patients and the students or doctors who heal them.

Shaw said; ‘Medical students are normally in their early 20s and not encountering those kinds of difficulties yet, so we decided to create something that would deliver them the experience of what it might be like to go through the aging means,’

Users feel that with some headphones and the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2, a headset that can engage them in a 360-degree virtual reality experience. The headset also holds a Leap Motion device that traces and projects user’s hands in the story to give them feel like they’re Alfred.

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Becoming Alfred helps better users to understand with elderly patients.

The group began with Alfred .5, the first iteration of the project. The prototype had a totally virtual environment. But after examinations, trials, consideration and input from expert geriatricians, the second iteration was re-focused to add graphic elements, real people, and live scenes, a re-designed interactive cinema on an almost zero-dollar funds.

The live-action story includes 6 scenes: Happy Birthday Song, Day Dream, Wine Spill, and Waiting Room, Taking the Cognitive Test and Follow up with the Doc.

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Thomas Leahy and Jakub Borowski, UIC engineering students used programming techniques and development devices to stitch together footage and add simulations of medical effects such as critical macular degeneration or hearing loss. according to too Leahy; ‘There were a lot of diverse, new technologies that we were working to integrate together, and I think that was one of the important themes of our whole project,’

The group did a lot of troubleshooting and worked each others’ expertise and plans to solve problems and handle challenges.

Shaw said. ‘It expresses to the complexity of life. If you act in one discipline, it’s simple to focus in on that one thing, managing with yourself, but if you can balance working over a group of people with different opinions and perspectives, what you design winds up looking a little bit more like the things we really have to deal with in the world.’

Other project collaborators introduced Yoobin Cha, a graduate student in communication; computer science grad students Karen Corda and Abhishek Tripathi with faculty member Rachel Yudkowsky, associate professor of medical education.

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