Abbott wants your blood and has new mixed reality technology to get it. Athealth technology company unveiled a new mixed reality experience designed to make the blood donation process more enjoyable.
Because this is mixed reality and not virtual reality, donors using the technology will be sufficiently aware of their surroundings, but will be set up with an immersive virtual experience that takes them to an imaginary garden where they can listen to music and plant seeds that grow into flowering plants. All this happens while they are in a health center, needle in hand, donating blood. It uses.
In partnership with Blood Centers of America, Abbott designed the technology in hopes of attracting new and younger donors. The effort is based on research showing that donors prefer a natural environment while giving blood (because who wouldn’t). Abbott also said in a press release that “one of the biggest challenges” facing the nation’s blood supply is the decline in the number of donations from people under 30.
In the US, a person needs blood or platelets every two seconds, according to the American Red Cross. Reasons for needing a blood transfusion include injuries or car accidents, certain cancers or diseases, and natural disasters. People of any blood type can donate, but people with(sometimes called “universal donors”) are in high demand.
In addition to younger people, a mixed reality experience can help distract people who experience a fear of needles during a blood draw or help distract from the unpleasant feeling of donating blood.
“Some people are hesitant to donate for various reasons or simply don’t think about giving blood,” said Harpreet K. Sandhu, CEO of Stanford Blood Centers and chairman of Blood Centers of America, in a press release. “As the need for blood is constant, we are constantly looking for clever new ways to appeal to people who have never donated before or who may be hesitant.”
When using Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 during blood donation, users’ eyes will be visible to ensure monitoring by the healthcare team. The lightweight headphones will adjust for comfort.
Abbott says the blood donation and mixed-reality experience is currently being tested “on a limited basis” at some America’s blood center locations. You can sign up to find out when it’s coming to a city near you here.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.