Source: Virtual forest could help dementia patients

A TEAM at Alzheimer’s Australia is seeking crowdfunding for a virtual forest game designed to bring joy back into the lives of dementia sufferers.

A new application being developed by Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria could substantially change the way that dementia patients are able to interact and live their lives if a Pozible crowdfunding campaign is a success.

“Imagine having a disease that takes away your ability to communicate,” says Dr Tanya Petrovich of Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria.

“It takes away your ability to engage life. This is what dementia can do. Using game technology and sensory therapy we’re trying to give back to people with dementia their ability to engage more fully with life.”

The “Forest” application places players — in this case, dementia sufferers — inside a virtual forest world where gentle breezes blow, snow can fall and butterflies flitter past in a peaceful but interactive environment.

“What we’re aiming for is hyper-realism; more real than real. The technical term is ‘Disney snow’; even more comforting than real life,” says Opaque Multimedia’s James Bonner.

The Forest is designed to engage dementia sufferers, and in early trials the team has already seen some encouraging successes. More…