A new virtual reality app that puts users in the position of a person living with dementia has been released for Google's Cardboard VR platform.
This week, Alzheimer's Australia Victoria has launched a free application for Google Cardboard and iOS called EDIE. Called EDIE (pronounced Eddy put standing for Educational Dementia Immersive Experience), the app was launched on Thursday by Alzheimer's Australia Vic, and is available free on Android and iPhone.
‘When someone is diagnosed with dementia, friendships and some family relationships suddenly disappear because people simply don’t know how to interact with their friend or loved one with dementia.’
It's designed to put users in the shoes of an elderly person (Edie of the title, although it's also an acronym for Educational Dementia Immersive Experience) living with dementia. EDIE works directly with Google Cardboard. Alzhiemer's Australia Victoria is selling headsets through its web site if you don't have one.
There are more than 353,000 Australians with dementia and an estimated 1.2 million people involved in the care of someone with dementia. In the Myall Lakes, Newcastle, Port Stephens and Upper Hunter electorates there are an estimated 5,650 people living with dementia.
That figure is projected to increase to about 12,150 by 2050. In addition to memory, dementia can affect mood, language, problem solving and the ability to plan, although a virtual reality platform presents an ideal way to explain its effect on perception.
According to Maree McCabe, Acting National CEO of Alzheimer's Australia, "EDIE provides the user with a 360-degree immersive experience that enables them to see first-hand the challenges faced by people with dementia".
"With EDIE we can take the technology to the carer, both personal and professional, anywhere in the world" Ms McCabe said in a statement. The app itself was developed with the Deakin Software and Technology Innovation Laboratory. lzheimer's Australia will use EDIE in educational sessions, but it's free for anyone to download for either iOS or Android platforms to start understanding the challenges that come with a diagnosis of dementia whether that's a personal diagnosis or the possibility of supporting someone with such a diagnosis.