The University of Oxford has announced that its virtual reality (VR) spinout, Oxford VR, has secured £3.2 million (GBP). This funding comes from investors in the startup which includes Oxford Sciences Innovation, University of Oxford, Force Over Mass, RT Capital and GT Healthcare Capital Partners. This new round of investment will be used to bolster growth and bring automated immersive, clinically validated VR technologies to market.
“Our focus is on developing clinically validated, cost-effective, user-centred treatments for clinical conditions with significant impact on patients, the health system and wider economy. That means targeting complex conditions such as psychosis and social anxiety,” said Barnaby Perks, CEO of Oxford VR speaking to UKTN,
The company’s first product is an automated VR treatment for height phobia and was tested earlier this in a large scale, randomized controller trail and the treatment is now being used in select NHS clinics across the UK. With a focus on developing clinically validated, cost-effective, user-centered cognitive treatments for clinical conditions with significant impact on patients, Oxford VR aims to deliver treatments that are automated and accessible.
“I am delighted to lead a company that will transform mental health for millions by combining state-of-the-art immersive technology with world-class science from the University of Oxford. Professor Daniel Freeman’s research, combined with the advent of highly immersive consumer VR, means that Oxford VR can develop treatments that are faster and more effective than traditional treatments, significantly cheaper for health services to deploy, and – crucially – engaging and entertaining for users.” Perks continues.
Oxford VR is build on the ground-breaking work of Daniel Freeman, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University and Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. He commented on the work of Oxford VR also by adding: “Instead of a real-life therapist, we used a computer-generated avatar to guide users through a cognitive treatment program for fear of heights. On average, people spent around two hours in VR over five treatment sessions. Everyone in the VR group saw their fear of heights diminish, with the average reduction being 68%. Half of the participants in the VR group had a reduction in fear of heights of over three quarters. These are amazing results: better, in fact, than could be expected with the best psychological intervention from a real-life therapist.”
With new funding behind them, Oxford VR will be sure to develop new solutions for treatment that leveraging VR technology and for all the latest, keep reading VRFocus.