This Unreal Engine 4 Project Aims To Help Dementia Patients

By Eugene . March 23, 2014 . 2:00pm

 

Dementia is a serious ailment, and one that we currently don’t have a cure for. One way Alzheimer Australia Vic intends to help those suffering from the ailment is with a virtual living world created in the Unreal Engine, that they’re hoping people will help fund.

 

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Dubbed The Forest Project, the project’s goal is to simulate a lifelike version of a forest for dementia patients to be able to interact with. They’ll do this on a nice and large 10 meter by 2 meter, motion-sensitive kinetic wall  with gesture-sensors and other interactive means—which has already been built.

 

Funding, then, is to make the project’s forest get better, such as through dynamic shifting of the seasons and other soothing but mentally stimulating situations for dementia patients to experience. They’re also hoping to make it accessible to aged care homes worldwide after getting it into every aged care facility in Australia.

 

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If you’re wondering if the developers, Opaque Multimedia, can make this work, you should check out their first run through the Virtual Dementia Experience. It too was created using the Unreal Engine and is already emplaced at the Alzheimer Australia Vic Perc Walkley Dementia learning center. Future parts of The Forest Project will, if successful, see it expand the types of environments for patients to interact with in a safe space.

 

The Forest Project can be funded over at Pozible.


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  • revenent hell

    As someone who worked with dementia patients daily for ten years I do like the idea of this… BUT the colors are bland and I doubt most of the people afflicted with the disease would pay much attention to it as is.

    I think it would behoove them to try to make a more “colorful” world that grabs their attention because as is I don’t think such “blandness” will do what they intend for the people.

    People afflicted with Alzheimer’s/dementia don’t focus well, they need to snap at their attention. I don’t mean they should have an acid trip type game because I like the forest idea they just need to make it pop more with colorful life here and there. Like pink cherry blossoms falling from the tree’s or vibrant green fireflies ect…

    Yes there is color but it doesn’t…. Make me want to focus on it if ya’ know what I mean.

    • GH56734

      An artsy/stylized take on the colors and lightning to make it “pop out” would be nice to fulfill the purpose, instead of pursuing excessive realism.
      I also hear about an animation style (like the one used for Envy’s giant form in FMA:B) used for monsters/robots/abominations that’s done specifically to stand out for the human eye… maybe that could work?

      • revenent hell

        Yes ! Exactly this!
        Im glad someone got the idea of what I was talking about! :)

  • PreyMantis

    I don’t get it. Why can’t they just go to a real forest? Or why won’t the organization just make a small pseudo-forest or something? Can anyone explain why?

    • Pillbugable .

      Well, let’s consider those options along with the idea in the article:

      For the first one, they’ll need to fund these trips somehow, and there is no correlation to the locations of centers that treat dementia and the locations of pretty forests, so depending on the location, it would cost a boatload to give forest tours.

      With your second solution, that would mean putting a lot of money into a construction/renovation project that takes time, and can also be very noisy.

      So the options are: fund a tour service to park areas specifically for dementia patients where the cost varying wildly depending on how many patients there are and the location of a forest, pour a lot of money into a construction project that disrupts the quiet of things nearby, or buy/develop a computer program. Which do you think sounds more cost-effective?

      • PreyMantis

        Gotcha. Thanks!

    • revenent hell

      Most dementia patients get rather volatile when taken from their “comfort zone” .Most end up making the journey to the place a living hell on everyone including themselves because they become highly confused and agitated not to mention an actual forest would hold harms to the elderly by merely slipping on a tree branch or rock.

      Don’t get me wrong not all people with said disease are as prone to acting out as violently early on and while they may enjoy the trip to a forest I must reiterate here that most of the elderly in these types of cases have difficulty walking without a walker or wheelchair. Enjoying the forest wouldn’t be a very safe thing in actuality.

      Not to mention the funds it would take that the activities department doesn’t typically have. Most “caregiving” type places have an activities fund and would not be able to actually build such a thing.
      Making a pseudo forest would take more money than what most nursing facilities activities departments get.

      Even if this person did make one it wouldn’t be easily accessible to many others. This product is. It leaves the individual in their comfort zone while avoiding hazards that actually exist plus this thing has the ability to actually make it to people world wide whereas a pseudo forest couldn’t.

      • PreyMantis

        I see, those were good points. Thank you for explaning it to me.

        • revenent hell

          I worked in a Nursing and rehab center for ten years so I should have picked up something from the experience :)
          And your welcome. Though I did get kind of wordy there without meaning to.

          • PreyMantis

            It’s all good, and I appreciate it for the details.

  • Captain Levi

    Interesting.

  • Always nice to see a genuinely good cause in the industry.

  • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

    That’s a really lovely idea.

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