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Japanese elderly people are traveling the world thanks to virtual reality!
Posted on 30/07/2019


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Can you imagine traveling to the other side of the world without leaving your seat? Thanks to virtual reality technology and researchers from the University of Tokyo, a group of Japanese elderly are exploring the world with their virtual reality headsets.

A different place right before their eyes

A different place right before their eyes
© Mirko Vitali / 123RF

When Japanese therapist Kento Toshima traveled the world, he decided to capture 360-degree videos of many places to show them to his elderly patients. His ultimate goal was to use virtual technology in order to help the patients unable to travel anymore to see the world again, or in some cases, to discover it. Along with a team of researchers of the University of Tokyo, Kento Toshima was able to give his patients a chance to watch, shoot and edit virtual reality videos.

Each workshop of the project takes place in a classroom at the University of Tokyo, and participants ranging in age from 50 to 90 have been learning about virtual reality technology for approximately a year. Takeshi Maki, an 82-year-old participant, traveled to Hawaii with a 360-degree camera to shoot videos for his friends. When asked about virtual reality, he stated, "Most of the senior people cannot move, travel, right? This camera lets them."

For Kento Toshima and the university team, the virtual reality project can be used as part of the physical rehabilitation of seniors in nursing care facilities. They hope to help patients both with matters of the body and the mind. "I saw people stand up who don't normally stand up, who then start walking. It was so shocking," the Japanese therapist said about the positive effects of virtual reality on seniors.

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