Swinburne University, Australia
A group of three Swinburne students acting as Opaque Multimedia were approached by Alzheimer's Australia Vic to develop a virtual, empathic method for teaching dementia care. So the Virtual Dementia Experience was born. 18 months later, the VDE has received countless awards and accolades, and we're working to make it more accessible to carers in training across Australia.
The Virtual Dementia Experience (VDE) simulates the effects of ageing and dementia in a virtual environment, so that cognitively intact people can gain an appreciation of the issues confronting people with dementia. The VDE was launched with the Perc Walkley Dementia Learning Centre on 24th October 2013. Dementia Learning Centre The VDE is the feature installation in Alzheimer’s Australia Vic’s Perc Walkley Dementia Learning Centre (DLC). There it makes use of the 10x2.5m projector screen and a full 7.1 surround sound system to deliver a highly immersive experience. Immersive Experience The DLC installation allows the VDE to completely occupy the senses of the users, immersing them in the world of a person with dementia. The users interacts with the VDE through a Kinect-based natural motion interface, making the entire experience seamless. Users The VDE has targets three distinct types of users: * Aged care workers The VDE provides aged care workers with an insight into the reasons for the behaviour of their clients, helping them provide appropriate care for people with dementia. * The general public As a public outreach tool, the VDE is unmatched in providing a means by which the average person can come to empathise with people with dementia. * Accessibility interests Public officials and architects of spaces used by people with dementia can use the VDE to develop an awareness of the needs of people with dementia and aging conditions, allowing them to design accessible spaces.