​Samsung to develop VR mental health diagnosis tools for hospitals

Samsung Electronics will work with Gangnam Severance Hospital and content maker FNI to develop mental health diagnosis tools that use virtual reality.

Samsung Electronics will develop mental health diagnosis programs that use mobile virtual reality (VR), the company has announced.

The tech giant signed a cooperation agreement with Gangnam Severance Hospital and VR content maker FNI for the programs, with the goal to commercialize them in 2018 in hospitals, dementia centres, and schools, before being expanded to homes at a later date.

The three firms will use Samsung's Gear VR headset, FNI's VR contents development technology, and the hospital's medical data to make the programs.

Cognitive behaviour therapies for suicide prevention and psychological assessment will be the focus, it said.

The companies will make chairs and diagnosis kits as physical products and will develop an application for use in psychological assessments using artificial intelligence (AI).

Samsung will use the Gear VR headset, the Gear S3 smartwatch, the S Health app, and AI-based virtual assistant Bixby for the development, it said.

Organisations around the world are increasingly using VR for healthcare. Last year, Build VR rolled out their Solis VR unit for Australian care homes. Their Gear VR handset features video scenarios that try to trigger positive emotions for dementia patients.

Australian health insurer Medibank also launched an immersive VR experience for Australian hospitals on Google Daydream View, in collaboration with a group of neuropsychologists at Melbourne-based Liminal.

Their "Joy" experience, which was entirely designed in 3D using Google's Tilt Brush, provides hospital patients with a virtual experience to attempt to relieve loneliness and isolation, particularly for long-stay patients with restricted mobility.

UK-based Loros also uses virtual reality to enhance end-of-life care for people across northern England.

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