Mynd VR - Virtual Reality for the Elderly
Chris Brickler and Shawn Wiora are businessmen addressing a large, and growing market. Its not surprising that Samsung decided to partner with them early on with a strategic alignment. Their backgrounds respectively are in Content Distribution, such as Video content from the major studios and TV syndicates, and in Nursing Home care administration.
What strikes me is the need to address the aging population. Well, that actually includes every living being… but specifically, in the US we’re adding 10,000 people per day to the retired and aging population. When I was a student at Berkeley I remember taking a geography class with a focus on Global Population dynamics. Two terrifyingly awesome trends were burned into my brain. 1) How China completely cut its massive population boom by instituting 1 child policy 2) Seeing the ‘boom’ bell curve of baby boomers, and forecasting that out in the future 30 years.
Many of those boomers (my parents included) are approaching retirement age, or already there. These are often affluent, highly educated, and competent individuals who are seeking high-levels of customized care as they age.
I’ve visited nursing homes over the years. From singing to them as an elementary student, to later in life bringing flowers to people I’d never met before as a good-deed practice.
While the levels of care vary, and the administration and staff are doing their best to care for aging people, often the homes are lacking mental stimulation, deep community, family, and educational outlets. Can VR help with these? I believe it can.
Specifically, VR can bring such an immersive environment to these elderly, they’re able to be transported back in time, or take a completely novel trip to some-place tropical for example. Later, I hope they can connect with like-minded people in a Virtual environment.
A clear next-step with VR in the Nursing-home environment is integration of biometrics. It will happen.
For Chris and Shawn It seems they are taking the content distribution and entertainment tack as a sales tool for distribution. This is a great idea because its not a far-cry from the current form of entertainment, TV. It seems it would be an easy sell. From there, with distribution in place, one could launch all kinds of other programs: Education, Virtual Human Assistants, Mind-enhancing games, Community interactions, Family Connection portals. So many possibilities.
One idea Chris and Shawn are launching is their ‘Missions’ platform. While I don’t have the details on what this is, it sound like it could be bringing in the youth of the Church to connect with Elderly in a virtual environment, hopefully bringing love, optimism and faith to their lives.