Japan is a pioneer in technology, and they’ve proved themselves yet again. A team at the University of Tokyo has developed a technology exclusively for the elderly that links Virtual Reality (VR) and travelling; in turn providing them with a chance to see the world right from their seat! By Bayar Jain
As one grows older, age-related issues seep into the picture, in turn minimising physical movement and curbing the chances of world travel. Elderly are often forced to lead the rest of their lives glued within the confines of their houses. A team at The University of Tokyo noticed this dilemma and decided to turn towards technology to make things better.
Japan therapist Kenta Toshima travelled parts of the world and recorded them on his 360-degree camera. His aim was to help seniors find joy and motivation in their otherwise mundane life. Next, he teamed up with Atushi Hiyama, University of Tokyo’s lecturer and assistant professor in geron-informatics to bring his ideas to reality. They started conducting workshops to help the elderly familiarise themselves with the technology. According to the duo, making use of VR technology would enable them to satisfy their wanderlust and see the world again.
Together, they are applying this technology to not only show Japan’s hyper-aged society the world, but also enable them to film and edit the videos from their travels to share with their elderly, less mobile peers.
Toshima highlights the surprising rehabilitative benefits that sprung up since this project went underway. During the exercise and training sessions, some of the older immobile folks were so fascinated by the technology that they stood up and started walking again. Whether its ‘walking’ along the beach under the setting sun, or gazing at The Eiffel Tower in Paris, VR enables them to experience it all from the comforts of their home.