Abbott (NYSE: ABT) and Blood Centers of America launched a mixed reality option today to help donors give blood.
The mixed reality tech is designed to help relax donors during the blood donation process, attract new donors and motivate the younger generation to give blood. The effort is also present to help facilitate a solution to the challenge of the lack of a reliable blood supply.
“This innovative use of mixed reality is the most recent example of how Abbott is creating leading-edge technology to address a key health care need in the world – maintaining the blood supply,” said Alex Carterson, divisional vice president, medical, scientific and clinical affairs, Abbott. “Not only is it an immersive and unique use of mixed reality controlled completely through eye tracking, it’s a high-tech and creative way to improve the donation experience and make it more appealing for people to participate.”
Mixed reality eases blood donation fears: Abbott
Mixed reality is similar to virtual reality, except that it allows users to see the real world around them. Virtual reality, in contrast, users can only experience the digital world. The mixed reality tech uses Microsoft HoloLens 2, which is the world’s first self-contained holographic computer. It also enables hands-free interaction with digital objects in three-dimensional digital space, and a library of applications. Donors get a quick tutorial on the headsets and mixed reality in general before using them.
Abbott’s mixed reality experience gives blood donation professionals the ability to interact with donors at every step of the process. The donor’s eyes remain visible during donation so professionals can maintain constant monitoring and evaluation. Additionally, participants wear lightweight mixed reality headsets and enter a digital world, while remaining aware of their surroundings.
Originally showcased during the Consume Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the experience’s design came out of research that natural settings are the preferred environment as doctors give blood. Specifically, while giving blood, donors experience a whimsical garden and soothing music while seeds grow into colorful trees and flowers. The pilot project is happening at select Blood Centers of America across the United States.
Only 3 per cent of Americans donate blood every year. According to a recent poll of adults in the United States, only 15 per cent of 18-34 year olds donated blood in 2020.
“Since the need for blood is constant, we’re continually looking for smart new ways that will appeal to people who have never donated before or may be apprehensive. The mixed reality experience is a terrific way to get those people interested in participating,” said Harpreet K. Sandhu, CEO, Stanford Blood Centre and chairperson of Blood Centers of America.