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Virtual Reality Game Developed To Advance Dementia Research!

A new virtual reality (VR) game - Sea Hero Quest - has been developed by Deutsche Telekom, University College London, Alzheimer’s Research and the University of East Anglia, intended to help scientists advance dementia research.

This is being lauded as the first consumer-focused VR game and allows anyone who’s interested to lend a helping hand to scientists in the fight against dementia. Apparently, just two minutes of game time is the equivalent of five hours of lab-based research.

Last year, a mobile version of the game was released, which was downloaded almost three million times. Findings from the analysis of the data were such that the game is now being trialled for use in a clinical setting.

And the original game also led to the launch of the VR version, which gives scientists the opportunity to cross-validate the data from the mobile version. It’s hoped that by using the latest in VR tech, greater insight will be gained into human spatial navigation behaviours.

UCL’s Dr Hugo Spiers said: “With Sea Hero Quest VR we have also been able to replicate highly credible lab-based experiments such as the ‘Morris Water Maze’ (winner of the 2016 ‘Brain Prize’) that would not translate well to video or mobile game format. The intuitive nature of VR means that the study can be opened up to those who might not be able to grasp the function of the mobile game - some people with advanced dementia for example.”

There are reportedly 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia. Between 2010/2011 and 2015/2016 there was a 56 per cent rise in the number of people diagnosed with the condition.

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