Virtually brilliant

A Galashiels-based business has helped develop a revolutionary virtual reality device that aims to provide a better understanding of what someone with dementia experiences.

David Burgher of VR-EP demonstrates the innovative headset technology.
David Burgher of VR-EP demonstrates the innovative headset technology.

With the help of South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), Virtual Reality Empathy Platform (VR-EP) is helping to drive awareness through the use of their innovative technology.

VR-EP has worked with industry-leading academia on the headset device, which has the potential to make a real impact in the support of people living with dementia, their families and care providers.

The device allows designers of products and spaces to perceive the world from the perspective of those living with dementia, by providing a full-scale immersive experience which helps signal where alterations could be made to elements such as lighting, flooring and walls to improve accessibility.

David Burgher of VR-EP with the headset.

Specifically, the headsets can be used in the design process of new buildings such as care homes, hospitals or sheltered housing, as well as having the potential to assess existing buildings and environments.

Dementia-friendly design can significantly improve the quality of life for people living with the condition – with VR-EP hoping its device can be life-changing for many of the 900,000 people in the UK living with dementia, if widely rolled out.

As a result of its recent success, VR-EP picked up a Silver Award in the Technology and Innovation category at the prestigious Franco-British Trade & Investment Awards earlier this month.

David Burgher, VR-EP founder, said: “We are a small business, with big ambitions to help people live and age well.

“We have recently been working collaboratively with a multinational client to develop their innovative dementia-friendly products. This led to being shortlisted for the Franco-British Trade & Investment Awards.

“SOSE’s support will assist us in developing shared VR strategies to improve quality of life for people with dementia and their care providers, while overcoming the current challenges of social distancing and new working regimes."