Since its opening in 2005, the Game research and immersive design (GRID) Ohio University Lab has strived to provide Appalachian Ohio with training and education in digital gaming technology.
One of the focus of the laboratory is to research and develop virtual, augmented and mixed reality. Recently, the GRID Lab partnered with OhioHealth in an effort to relieve the stress of COVID-19 on health care workers. The lab created a quiet virtual reality experience, hoping to provide healthcare workers a few minutes of peace during busy days.
The Post sat down with Matthew Love, film and filmmaker, post-production director and media professor at OU, to talk about the collaboration.
The Post: Tell me about the GRID Lab project with Ohio Health.
Love: The way it turned out to be is that I participated in a group call for a grant project last fall with Dr. Elizabeth Beverly of Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, along with several people from OhioHealth. We were discussing the possibility of submitting a new grant application. The people at OhioHealth let us know that they should postpone the grant work because so many people who normally had table work were called to the floor to care for patients, just because the health care system was under so much stress. .
It was at this point that it became a more general conversation. Liz and I had been in previous discussions about our desire to take advantage of virtual reality to help in some way shape or respond to the pandemic. And we had some ideas that were kind of a combination of different things that we did here. In addition to the things we had already read or heard about other work done with virtual reality across the country.
We introduced them to the idea on a whim to provide headphones at OhioHealth facilities that had quiet, peaceful content. Perhaps this could provide staff, doctors, nurses, receptionists, security guards, custodians, anyone who is stressed or stressed by the situation, the opportunity to escape and take their two, three, five minutes a day and be transported. somewhere else. OhioHealth loved the idea and said they saw it as something that had potential and would be very interested in implementing or testing some of its facilities.
TP: How was the process to develop the quiet experience?
Love: I contacted Professor Nancy Stevens. He had been collaborating with the GRID Lab, along with a nature reserve, to document the reservation at its various stations with very high RV content. We went to various places in the reserve to capture the different stations. I contacted Nancy and asked, “What do you plan to use perhaps some of the content you got from the nature reserve to help facilitate this pilot program with OhioHealth?” and he loved the idea. We were able to take advantage of part of this content of the nature reserve. We put it on the headphones and made it available at three different OhioHealth facilities identified by OhioHealth as COVID points of interest. We had headphones at Riverside in Columbus, along with Grant Medical in Columbus and Marion General in Marion. These headphones were available to any hospital worker, from doctors to even getting some rest.
TP: How were the comments from the three hospitals?
Love: Liz worked with OhioHealth on developing a simple measurement tool so we can, without adding more stress to life (of health workers), get an idea of whether this was effective or not. Essentially, we did a 10-point scale, in which users informed themselves of the stress they felt before putting on their headphones, of the stress they felt when they took off their headphones. An incoming question, an outgoing question. We retrieved this data and it was very promising. It was very encouraging. We are now in talks with OhioHealth to expand the project. Therefore, we want to get a greater variety of experiences in headphones and we want to get them in many more facilities in your network.
In the future, the GRID Lab hopes to develop a variety of quiet experiences for users to choose from. For example, a tropical beach or a dense forest. In addition, the next step for the lab is to decide how many headphones should be in each facility and where the funding will come from.
I will add that John Bowditch, who is the director of the GRID Lab, has always been incredibly supportive of ideas and projects with the GRID Lab. Although (the OhioHealth project) wasn’t something that was funded or would bring monetary value to the GRID Lab, John is the kind of director who will look at it and say, ‘Is this a way to have it? a positive impact on our community? ‘I am very grateful to the GRID Lab, for taking advantage of what we have in terms of capacity and resources to try to positively influence the student body and the larger community of which we are part in Southeast Ohio.