A new UK virtual reality project called The Wayback aims to help people with dementia and Alzheimer's. Launched via Kickstarter, it recreates key events from the past as a way to boost personal memories of those moments.
The first to be reproduced is the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. The Wayback team, in partnership with ad agency Grey London, shot a recreation of a street party celebrating the event, focusing on particular details – from authentic clothing to conversations that may have occurred among participants – that may spark memories in those viewing the footage.
"The Wayback virtual reality film offers those living with dementia the opportunity to live in the moment, to go back in time and to just ' be ' again," said Dr David Sheard, a dementia expert and consultant on the project. "The Wayback enables families to see the person is not lost to dementia, but able to still experience and feel being who they were, and share those memories with them."
The Wayback follows on from global ad agency Y&R's Chat Yourself app, released in April 2017, which aimed to help dementia sufferers recall key information via a chatbot interface. The initiative won numerous awards at this year's Cannes Lions, including Gold in the Mobile category.