A lot has been said about how virtual reality can be used in the architecture and real estate industries, whether that’s “bringing” people into exciting new places or enticing them to buy a property. Well, Scottish architect David Burgher has one more intriguing application to add to the burgeoning field.
Working with researchers from the Dementia Centre in Australia and Glasgow-based CGI company Wireframe Immersive, Burgher, who works at Scottish firm Aitken Turnbull Architects has developed the Virtual Reality Empathy Platform (VR-EP), a tool to help improve the design of care facilities, hospitals, and more.
Composed of a laptop, VR headset, controller, and camera, all operating on bespoke software, the VR-EP kit allows whoever wearing the headset to virtually experience some of the perceptive impairments associated with dementia and old age, such as hallucinations in dark settings and general sight loss. The idea is that if designers can visualize how a space might look and work for those patients, they can better consider the lighting, layout, and way-finding for a safer and more independent living environment.
“Dementia-friendly design doesn't have to cost more,” Burgher tells Dezeen. "In fact, by using VR-EP, designers will get it right first time and therefore reduce costs."