A virtual reality (VR) smartphone app has been developed as part of an effort to gather data on dementia for the biggest dementia research experiment ever devised. The experiment involves an app called Sea Hero Quest, which was originally a non-VR smartphone app, but the researchers hope the move to VR will yield better results.
The original mobile title and the new VR incarnation was created by development studio Glitchers, along with Alzheimer’s Research UK. The developers are expecting up to fifteen times more data from the VR version, which should be a boon to scientists who are seeking a way to detect dementia in its early stages.
One of the first cognitive problems to develop is loss of the ability to navigate. As such, Sea Hero Quest puts the player in the role of a boat captain, trying to navigate the ocean and chase down various sea creatures. The app gathers data by recording data on the directions players take, as well as the length of time needed to look around and make a decision.
Max Scott-Slade, from the Glitchers development team, told the BBC: “It’s interesting to try to make something that’s normally quite a boring subject matter, and lab-based, and bring it to the public and make it as fun as possible. The value for us is to create this much richer dataset, we’re capturing 15 times more data from the VR version because we’re separating out where the head looks and where the boat’s moving.”
Sea Hero Quest is available for the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR for free download.
VRFocus will bring you further information on Sea Hero Quest VR as it becomes available.