egg health innovations (previously part of Virgo Health) has launched a new wearable technology product which provides a fully immersive, first person patient insight experience. Named “Virtual Mile” it allows someone to authentically understand another person by experiencing the world from a virtual first person vantage point, conceived from a need to capture greater insights in sensitive conditions and rare diseases.
Virtual Mile (VM) captures thoughts, feelings and experiences from a privileged first person perspective with content being used either in a closed, private environment (for internal training or stakeholder engagement, for example) or, having secured the right permissions and/or activated VM censorship ability, an open (public) environment, to improve disease awareness, corporate reputation or levels of disease education.
The VM package combines fashionable glasses with sophisticated, recordable hidden camera hardware, and software which uses smart digital algorithms to both capture and curate the wearers’ experience, along with their emotional and biometric responses to offer a replicable experience to a third party. The technology can be used to gather first-person insights into a wide range of health conditions; some examples may include obesity, skin disorders, anxiety and other mental health disorders, rare disease and many more.
VM puts subjects into everyday situations while trained, compliant (ABPI, ABHI, PAGB) experts remotely observe and capture this situation in such a way that a third party observer can experience it in the first person. They will experience everything that the subject saw, said, heard, thought and felt - within a specific time frame - through an immersive Virtual Reality style experience. As such, VM offers clients a flexible and versatile product to capture far more than an interview or a third person camera ever could.
The Virtual Mile package comprises the following elements:
The hardware: Customised Virtual Mile (VM) glasses inconspicuously capture the subject’s world from their point of view. The glasses record audio and visual, capturing everything the wearer sees, says and hears and sends this to the VM app.
The software: Using the VM app on their smart phone that self-triggers based on input, the app captures the data sent by the glasses and biometric sensors as a timeline recording.
The narrative: Subjects can capture and narrate their thoughts and feelings using their voice picked up from the glasses, the VM app emojis or digital text for any specific non-verbal communication.
The wearables: In addition to the glasses, subjects - depending on the project/disease type - will also wear various other biometric markers to capture physiological changes. The VM app talks to Bluetooth VM compatible devices and is able to capture Heart rate, ECG, Blood pressure, Oxygen saturation, Cortisol (stress), GPS, Activity Walk/Run and calorie burn.
The output: The VM app timestamps and overlays all additional data – for example, thoughts and feelings, biometrics and generic inputs - onto the video stream generated by the glasses. This creates a film, told from the subject’s point of view, so that the viewer is made aware of aspects in context that would normally be missed, not understood or otherwise experienced, to offer unique, authentic insights.
The review: All data captured from a subject is observed and the content reviewed by a team of experts. This service can run seven days a week and covers any adverse event reporting. All content free from any adverse events is collated for post programme analysis, reporting and production.
The Immersive experience: Data is only really valuable when accurately interpreted and Virtual Mile addresses this in two ways:
- All of the suitable content collected is curated into a variety of usable digital assets either for internal training and stakeholder engagement, or
- external disease awareness and education, calling upon permissions and censors
Essentially the data collected becomes ‘a film’ that is observed and insights derived from, either as a collective or using immersive VR style goggle technology a personalised experience.
The third party observer can experience everything the subject saw, heard and said. They are also exposed to biometric data at appropriate moments through the smart curation element of the app, for example, if the subjects’ heart rate significantly alters the observer will see a heart icon pulse at the subjects’ heart rate during that moment, but this could just as easily be indicating stress levels, blood pressure, body temperature, ECG/EKG reading or other electro dermal outputs. The observer is also taken on a cognitive journey lead by the subject typing thoughts and using emoji’s which is what provides, especially using VR our truly immersive first person experience
In addition our psychologist analyse all the data collected and produce an insights and recommendations report as part of the service
Chris Knight, egg CEO said:
As humans, we are programmed to respond to situations based on the inputs we receive. The way we behave with our friends and family often differs from the way we behave in a professional environment. Therefore, it makes sense that our choices, actions and responses in any given situation can vary depending on the who, the what, the where and the why. Trying to gain accurate authentic insights from people is understandably difficult to achieve, yet they are immensely valuable when used to inform strategy around future activations."
It can be very difficult to accurately capture feelings, since they are often hidden, faked, suppressed, skewed or amplified, depending on the inputs or influences on the subject. What people say isn’t always what they are thinking. For example:
“How are you today?”
The verbal response: “I’m good thanks!”
The cognitive response:
“I’m exhausted, clinging on until pay day and worried about a mole on my back.”
Good insight generation and market research is challenging and may not always produce the best return on investment. Virtual Mile, however, offers a way to understand, observe and capture subjects exhibiting authentic behaviours and authentic thoughts and feelings. The product opens up huge opportunities for healthcare providers or anyone else who has an interest in monitoring certain health conditions or behaviours.
The Virtual Mile package is now available to purchase and is tailored to individual project requirements.