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Virtual reality games and related neurotechnologies spark a new generation of dementia & cognitive tests

The Sea Hero Quest virtual reality game is played on a Samsung Gear VR headset. Source: Glitchers Ltd.

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The Virtual Reality Game Gathering Data for Dementia Researchers (Bloomberg):

“Navigating an ice-walled lake or scouring a swamp for a hidden monster may sound like a fun premise for a virtual-reality video game. But there’s a serious purpose behind the new game Sea Hero Quest VR: helping neuroscientists design a new test for dementia.

London-based game design firm Glitchers worked with researchers from British and Swiss universities, as well as dementia and Alzheimer’s charities, to create Sea Hero Quest VR. Development of the free-to-download game, which is being released Tuesday for Samsung’s Gear VR headset and Facebook Inc.’s Oculus Rift, was funded by German mobile carrier Deutsche Telekom AG…Neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists will analyze the data to hopefully learn more about how humans develop spatial awareness and navigate new environments. Researchers believe subtle degradation in these skills may be an early warning sign of dementia and that information from the game could eventually lead to new tests to detect cognitive impairment earlier.”

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