Do you hate giving blood? Not anymore, with this mixed reality experience
Abbott wants your blood and has new mixed reality technology to get it. To CES 2023the health tech company has unveiled a new mixed reality experience designed to make the process of donating blood more enjoyable.
Because this is mixed reality and not virtual reality, donors using the technology will be sufficiently aware of their surroundings, but they will be set up with an immersive virtual experience that takes them to an imaginary garden, where they can listen to music and plant seeds that become colorful plants. All of this is happening while they are in a health center, with a needle in their arm, donating blood. He uses Microsoft HoloLens 2.
In partnership with Blood Centers of America, Abbott designed the technology in hopes of attracting new, younger donors. The effort is based on research showing that donors prefer a natural setting when donating blood (because who wouldn’t). Abbott also said in a press release that “one of the biggest challenges” facing the country’s blood supply is a drop in the number of donations from people under 30.
In the United States, a person needs blood or platelets every two seconds, according to the American Red Cross. Reasons for needing a blood transfusion include car injuries or accidents, certain cancers or illnesses, and natural disasters. People of any blood type can donate, but people with Type O blood (sometimes called “universal donors”) are in high demand.
In addition to young people, a mixed reality experience can help distract people who are afraid of needles when drawing blood, or help distract from an unpleasant feeling of donating blood.
“Some people are hesitant to donate for a variety of reasons or simply don’t think about donating blood,” said Harpreet K. Sandhu, CEO of Stanford Blood Centers and President of Blood Centers of America, in a press release. “Since the need for blood is constant, we are continually looking for smart new ways that will appeal to people who have never donated before or who may be apprehensive.”
When using Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 while donating blood, users’ eyes will be visible for monitoring by the healthcare team. Lightweight helmets will be adjustable for comfort.
Abbott says blood donation and the mixed reality experience are currently being tested “in a limited way” at select Blood Centers of America locations. You can sign up to find out when it’s coming to a city near you here.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.
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