Virtual Choirs in Care Homes
This project will develop a new VR application that provides a therapeutic immersive group singing experience to residents in care homes. It builds on an existing virtual reality experience SingfromyourSeat that allows a single user to experience singing within a choir in beautiful outdoor surroundings as though they were positioned within it. The software developed through this project will provide a scalable multi-user platform through which isolated individuals can come together in a VR therapeutic group singing experience and access the known benefits of group singing. In addition to the increased sense of immersion, social presence, agency and social surrogacy known to be associated with virtual choirs, the platform will allow for social engagement and development of communitas and sense of belonging alongside the singing activity as they can speak across the networked virtual reality system.
The software will deliver the immersive choir experience to multiple users via virtual reality using state of the art technology to produce immersive audio and visual environments that recreate group singing scenarios. Connected via the local network a single ‘leader’ will be able to control the application for residents wearing headsets across the site, with the digital intervention framework also facilitating two-way conversations between residents as they are situated in the virtual environment. In addition to connecting residents in group activities, the experience can be utilised on a single user basis to provide the immersive activity on demand for residents as and when they wish to engage, giving agency to the residents over their involvement and maximising the impact of the experience on quality of life and wellbeing for residents.