Meet the BroomX MK Player360: Latest advance in VR technology offers benefits to special-needs users

Closing in on a year that has largely confined us to home, wannabe globetrotters are increasingly fantasizing about the sights, sounds and places they long to visit.

However, even when real travel is possible again, there are many people with physical, financial or other limitations who will find taking a trip difficult, if not impossible.

These range from older adults, including those with dementia, who live in long-term-care facilities to people with special needs, such as some with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

For these people, virtual travel can be the next best thing to being there. Credit the latest advances in virtual reality technology, including the BroomX MK360, newly available in North America.
Fully immersive VR experience: no headset required!

This device, originating 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 4-D experience within a user’s entire field of vision.

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 autumn leaves in the woods, with rays of sun shining down through the trees, birds chirping in the background. These are among the experiences offered by more than 100 different 360-degree videos available to project through the BroomX.

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 rewards

VR technology like the BroomX offers many rewards for users such as older adults and people with ASD, ranging from feelings of calm and relaxation to improved cognitive function, memory stimulation and a reduction in acute and chronic 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, or 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 appetites and eating among underweight residents, and led to increased conversations and better sleep among all participants.

Study participants reduce 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 watch this video. VR tools help make those with ASD more comfortable

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 world around them.

For instance, therapists have used virtual reality 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 can be used to project 360-degree videos other than the ones provided with the device, for instance, home videos or ones taken at a particular event that might have special meaning to those watching.

The BroomX is sold exclusively in North America by Sensory One, a division of Xlent Care Products Inc.

Sensory One distributes innovative, award-winning and inspiring sensory products and multi-sensory environments customized to the individual needs of users.

Please contact us to learn more.