Broomx MK360: Newest VR technology a boon to special needs users of all ages

Virtual reality technology is all the rage, and the latest advance, known as the Broomx MK360, offers great rewards to users of all ages, especially those with special needs. That ranges from older adults, including those with dementia, living in long-term-care to younger people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Fully immersive VR experience: no headset required!

This device, newly available in North America from its manufacturer in Spain, creates a fully immersive experience without the need for VR headsets.

And while other similar technology requires multiple projectors, the Broomx is the only fully mobile, all-in-one unit. It projects a video that stretches across three walls and onto the ceiling, creating a captivating experience within a user’s entire field of vision. The BroomX is accompanied by more than 100 different 360-degree videos, and can project additional videos, for instance, those taken at home or at a particular event that might have special meaning to those watching.

Among the included videos, imagine, for instance, sitting amid a pod of dolphins watching them swim all around you, splashing and creating waves, and listening to them whistle and click.

Or how about virtually forest bathing — lying in a bed of sun-dappled autumn leaves in the woods, birds chirping in the background.

With no need for headsets, users of the Broomx have less chance of experiencing eye strain or “cybersickness,” a form of motion sickness in response to virtual environments. Many people also find headsets uncomfortable to wear. People with dementia or ASD might resist wearing them.

Improved cognitive function, memory stimulation

VR technology like the BroomX offers a virtual experience that is not only entertaining but engaging cognitively, emotionally and socially. It brings many rewards to users, ranging from lifting moods to creating feelings of calm and relaxation, as well as improving cognitive function, stimulating memory and reducing chronic and acute pain.

Recent research using the Broomx studied the impact of immersive technologies on people with Alzheimer’s disease and moderate to severe dementia living in long-term-care facilities.

In this study, 325 participants from three long-term-care homes enjoyed VR experiences such as being transported to a lush green park to see the cherry blossoms in bloom, being taken to the heart of a bustling city, and finding themselves surrounded by dairy cows in a farmer’s field.

These experiences were not only entertaining but engaging cognitively, emotionally and socially. The research found that residents who used the BroomX were relatively calmer, happier and more relaxed afterwards. Time with the BroomX projections also lifted moods, stimulated memory, improved both appetites and eating among underweight residents, and led to increased conversations and better sleep among all participants.

Study participants cut psychotropic medications

One of the most notable findings of the study, known as The Albert Project and conducted by Primacare Living Solutions with partners including the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), was a 30-per-cent reduction in the use of psychotropic medications to treat participants’ responsive behaviours.
To learn more about the results found in The Albert Project study, please click to watch the video below.


VR tools help comfort those with ASD

VR technology has also proven helpful in dealing with the sensory, attention, behaviour, and communication challenges faced by people with ASD, to help them better connect with the people and the around them.

For instance, therapists have used VR exposure therapy to help people become more comfortable in some situations, such as being outdoors. Immersing them first in a virtual park makes it less stressful for them to make the transition to a real park. Similarly, VR technology has been used to help combat phobias.

The Broomx is sold exclusively in North America by SensoryOne, which distributes innovative, award-winning and inspiring sensory products and multisensory environments customized to the individual needs of users.