To address the growing problem of loneliness in the UK, scientists are exploring the possibility of using technology outside the shelf to unite the imaginary and the physical world.
The team is evaluating the suitability and feasibility of devices that can display live holograms of their friends and family in the living room, for example, to create social interactions that many enjoy.
Hundreds of miles away from each other, friends and relatives can have a very close connection to real-life interactions, both in the home and in the care setting.
The project is an attempt to fight chronic loneliness, with around 1.5m people in the UK aged 50 and over suffering. Recently, the UK government suggested that loneliness could cost private sector employers up to 2.5 2.5 billion a year due to lack of white paper and productivity losses.
This growing problem has been exacerbated over the past 18 months by a number of key locks throughout the Coronavirus epidemic, further straining the bonds between friends and relatives.
Thanks to UKRI’s new funding, the Cardiff University team is looking to develop a user-friendly virtual reality headset, and software prototypes that can restore images and sounds of friends and relatives. In various shapes and forms, such as a hologram.
The researchers described the technology as “mixed reality” and compared the experience to the popular smartphone game Pokémon Go.
Dr. Daniel J. Fengan, the project’s chief investigator from Cardiff University, said: Computer Science and Informatics.
“This technology can be used to provide hologram people who can literally walk hundreds or thousands of miles and talk to each other or play games in the same physical space. Our goal is to support community building activities and reduce the growing epidemic of loneliness.
The initial stages of the project involve gathering information from potential end users, both cost and technology can be a barrier for seniors.
Dr. Finnegan plans to work with charities and other organizations to develop the product and play a role for stakeholders, in particular focusing on developing training programs for caregivers to meet the necessary IT skills to connect with the technology.
“In a world dominated by social media, loneliness remains a major problem,” says Dr. Finnegan.
“I believe this may be related to the deep connection that these technologies provide. Connectivity is more than just communication – it seeks to share common understanding, socialization, agency and freedom, and to share meaningful experiences and connect with other human beings.
Using technology in a modern, meaningful and researched way, this project will go a long way in reducing feelings of emotional and social isolation and isolation and addressing the growing problem in the UK.
Funding from Ukraine was part of the “Healthy Lifetime Achievement Competition”, with more than 500 awards being donated nationally to promote creative ideas worth ,500 62,500 each.