Keeping older brains active

Keeping older brains active

Both organisations have joined forces to create virtual scans of the Eden Project for older people living in care to enjoy. This is being done with support from the Generating Older Active Lives Digitally (GOALD) project, a joint programme run by the universities of Stirling and Plymouth that involves 360° photos, live video streams and immersive augmented and virtual reality experiences.


Home activity coordinators at Headlands in Carbis Bay, St Breock in Wadebridge and Woodland in St Austell have introduced the new technology and are already reporting on the difference it is making for residents.


“It’s really lovely for our residents to be able to escape into a virtual world of wonderful global horticulture,” said Natasha Eden, Director of the Care Academy. “One of them, who lives at St Breock, worked at Eden in the early days and loves seeing how the attraction has developed.


“Eden has been captured in all its moods from sunrise to sunset and being part of that, even virtually, is magical.


“Cornwall Care is committed to embracing technology for the benefit of those we care for and staying connected has never been more important for health and wellbeing. That’s why this innovative approach is vital and why we’re delighted to be involved.”


Eden is one of nine projects to be funded by the Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport in the UK’s 5G Testbeds and Trials programme. The £28.3m joint investment between Government and businesses is testing how 5G can be used to help British industry capitalise on the power of modern technology.


“It’s been great for the Eden Project to be working with Cornwall Care on this aspect of the Eden Universe,” said Darren Hoare, the Eden Project’s programme lead. “The work that has gone into developing the content for the residents of the care homes to experience has been thought about in great detail at every step of the way and the feedback we are getting from the residents and activity co-ordinators has made it all worthwhile.”


Dr Hannah Bradwell, Research Fellow on the GOALD project said: “The University’s Centre for Health technology is really concerned with digital equity – in this case what you might call ‘digitally enabled equity’. This gives people who can no longer physically get to places, the ability to ‘teleport’ in and experience wonderful places like the Eden Project.”


In addition to its work with Eden, Cornwall Care is collaborating in other academic research involving robots, artificial intelligence and satellites.