DESCRIPTION: VRTU produces VR content to provide caregivers and patients therapeutic resources to combat symptoms of dementia. It takes a new approach to an existing form of dementia treatment called Reminiscence Therapy (RT), which reactivates old memories to enhance cognitive functions and emotional wellbeing of dementia patients. The app contains a catalogue of virtual simulations of historic scenes that can be used to facilitate RT in a more immersive and cost-effective way.
FOUNDERS: Christopher Larson, Arfa Rehman, Scott Gorman (from left to right)
BASED IN: Oxford / UK
How did you start VRTU?
Scott Gorman: The idea behind VRTU was inspired by our own families’ history with dementia as well as a recent trend in nursing homes constructing physical sets as a way to conduct reminiscence therapy. We’re students at Oxford and discussed the project idea before winter break (last December), but did not begin working on it until we returned in January. I actually did a bulk of the early development during our exam revision period. We began usability trials in February. Soon after we were accepted into the immersive tech accelerator program at Digital Catapult in London.
Christopher Larson about the first tests:
How did you fund VRTU?
Scott Gorman: We’re completely self-funded, but are planning to take on investment in order to expand development and operations. Our next steps are to increase our content catalogue and begin trials of the final product with select care homes in the UK.
Christopher Larson about the next steps:
What is your vision for VRTU?
Scott Gorman: Our ultimate goal is to provide a tool that care home residents can use to recall fond memories and connect with their loved ones and carers. We hope to make our app available to as many care homes as possible and build a content library that is relevant to everyone who uses it.
VRTU’s film about their startup: