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Remote Activation VR Trial at Ashfield Baptist Homes a “Success”


Residents and care staff took part in an Australian-first virtual reality (VR) trial using ‘remote’ activation VR kits at Sydney’s not-for-profit aged care facilityAshfield Baptist Homes (ABH), on 2nd March, 2021.

The remote activation trial was part of an ongoing pilot program by VR streaming platformInverse, to explore the therapeutic benefits of VR and opera amongst older people and residents living with dementia, as well as to test the feasibility of distributing remote activation VR Kits for the Aged Care sector nationally.   

ABH, Executive Care Manager, Barry Cowling said: “The trial was a great success! Nine of our residents were involved in the pilot, including some living with dementia. 

“There were some initial adjustments necessary when the residents firstly donned their headsets, but soon after they were totally engaged with the opera performance, following the action, reacting to music by tapping their feet, moving their bodies and applauding after each aria.”

The residents were treated to VR recitals staring Melba Opera Trust alumni Stacey Alleaume, Nathan Lay, Michael Petruccelli, internationally renowned pianist Amir Farid, and hosted by the host of the ABC’s The Opera Show Mairi Nicolson

“The performance included three 20-minute recitals, which was helpful for those residents who find it harder to concentrate for long periods,” explained Barry.

“Music and art therapy are often used to motivate aged care residents, but immersive technology such as virtual reality can be a powerful tool for "reminiscence therapy". It allows residents to immerse themselves in their past, stimulate emotions and memories, and just generally improve their wellbeing. So, watching the residents clap, laugh and move to the music and follow the ‘on stage’ action was just awesome.”

One of the Ashfield Baptist Homes residents, Rita aged 91, expressed: “I wanted to reach out and talk to the ladies sitting having supper. It was so good. It’s the first time I’ve experienced virtual reality and I loved it.”

Inverse founder Darren Vukasinovic said: “We are thrilled with how the first remote activation trial went. We recognise this is new ground for most aged care facilities, so ensuring that the care staff at Ashfield Baptist Homes were supported by the Inverse tech team during set-up, the test-run and the trial itself was critical. 

“For many residents it is also the first time they have ever experienced fully simulated immersive technology, so it is truly heart-warming to see the swaying, clapping and tapping as they are transported from the everyday to a stunning operatic experience. 

“With thanks to the support of the ABH team, we are certainly one-step-closer to a national rollout of the remote activation VR kits, which is incredibly exciting.”

Inverse is inviting expressions of interest amongst aged care providers wanting to learn more about the remote activation VR Kits for their wellbeing resident programs via https://inverse.live/agedcare 

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Images, Logos:
 Ashfield Baptist Homes - Media File


YouTube Video: 


About Ashfield Baptist Homes
Ashfield Baptist Homes Limited is a standalone not-for-profit organisation operated by Ashfield Baptist Church providing aged care based on Christian principles for people of all denominations in the Inner West of Sydney.



About Inverse

Inverse is Australia’s-first ever ‘live’ 3D virtual reality (VR) platform, created to connect fans, families, friends and communities with the enriching experience of ‘live’ performance art and music, remotely. Inverse aims to enable access to experience live events like never before. Through its fully immersive 3D VR technology, Inverse enables musicians, performing artists, venues and event organisers to open-up a whole new experience economy for the ever-evolving digital age, whilst staying connected with those audiences who may be unable to physically attend ‘live’. Born amid the adversity of COVID-19, Inverse is independently owned and was founded by Darren Vukasinovic, CEO of Melbourne-based extended reality (XR) technology start-up, Ignition Immersive. http://inverse.live/ 


About Melba Opera Trust

Melba Opera Trust provides Australia's leading opera development program for exceptional young artists. The program was founded on the legacy of Dame Nellie Melba, and is driven by her belief that 'a beautiful voice is not enough'. Melba Opera Trust engages an international network of experts to deliver a tailored program of artistic, professional and personal development that prepares artists for a global career in opera.