Interview with Sérgio Oliveira

Sérgio Oliveira is a business developer at Khora Virtual Reality, Denmark's leading Virtual and Augmented Reality production house. He was also a speaker at TEDxOdense 2017. In his TEDxOdense talk, Sérgio explained the magic of a childhood memory, and how virtual reality is being used today to record your memories in the Khora Care project. Find out more about his work in this interview!


One year after your TEDxTalk - where are you now?

When I gave my TEDxOdense talk, Khora Care had already done a pilot project. We’ve since moved forward with that.
One of the cases I presented in my TEDxOdense talk was an Alzheimer’s patient named Elizabeth. She had always loved music, so we recreated one of her most cherished memories of singing in a church choir. The effect it had on her was amazing. She was so happy to be singing in that choir once more, and she became very animated in her movements. We tried showing this “virtual reality memory” to other elderly people and it had a great effect on them as well!
This led us to then create a complete package, which can be implemented in nursing homes with just a 2 hour introduction.
The Khora Care package. This package contains everything needed: a headset, goggles, tablet with the app (all these connected through a hotspot) - even some wipes to clean the goggles!
We’ve gathered several virtual reality scenes that can benefit the elderly. These include a walk in a park, a fishing dock, playing with puppies and so forth.
The idea is that these different experiences can then be administered by a caretaker in order to achieve a desired result. For example, if the caretaker wants to make the patient more active or more relaxed they will show them a different scene. Thereby increasing life quality for the elderly person and helping the caretaker make a difference in their work.
A great way we’re creating new content is that we encourage people who want custom videos to make them public. We can give people the equipment needed so that they can make videos themselves, or we can make custom videos for them. Making one of these virtual reality scenes takes about 1 day of filming and 1 day of editing.
Is it difficult for elderly people to work with this new technology?
Typically, it’s their caregivers who operate the VR headset, so it’s not a problem! We do a 2 hour introduction and that’s enough for the caregivers to use our technology with ease. In case they encounter difficulties, we also provide remote support on weekdays.
What’s the next step for this project?
More content, fresh content. We want to be able to provide a wide variety of scenes to use.
What other kinds of projects is Khora working on?
All sorts! Within marketing, healthcare education and arts. Khora’s ventures into the arts are evolving particularly well. We’ve also created an educational 2 player game for teaching physics and chemistry in 7th-10th grade. ( Learn more here ) We will be showing it in the interactive lounge at TEDxOdense 2018 actually!
There are some people afraid of technology coming into schools, what would you say to them to put them at ease about virtual reality entering schools?
We don’t want virtual reality games to take over classrooms entirely. Traditional teaching methods are still important, but by mixing the two techniques they each become more effective. This is because learning in virtual reality can be especially engaging and motivating for kids, and it enhances the ability to visualize something in three dimensions.
What kind of feedback did you get after your TEDxOdense talk?
At the event a lot of people approached me. One of the people who approached me was a woman whose mother had spent all her life working at a nursing home. She told me that, throughout my talk, her mother had been nodding in agreement. This kind of compliment means a lot to me.
The feedback from my TEDxOdense talk helped all of us at Khora Care to validate our idea and feel aware of the purpose of our project.
Sergio talking with participants at TEDxOdense 2017 during the break.
How did you feel on the stage of Odense Theater?
For the first few minutes I was really struggling. I just kept going and it began to feel natural.
What was the process of preparing to give a TEDx talk like?
The TEDxOdense speaker coach Adam Montandon’s input was great! He was very good at striking out everything unnecessary, so that I could deliver an impactful speech.
How many times did you rehearse your talk?
I rehearsed two times with Adam (where we went through it 4-6 times). Of course, I also rehearsed a bunch on my own!
What was your favourite thing about TEDxOdense last year?
I think it was being able to share our project with so many people. I also really loved the audience; talking to people and getting feedback.
You seem really passionate about your work at Khora Care, what makes you feel it is important work to share?
The topic of taking care of our elderly is becoming a bigger topic these days. We’re aware that there’s a problem: our elderly population is increasing and we need to provide a better lifestyle for them. Because of this, projects like Khora Care, which improve the life quality of the elderly, are bound to succeed!
This year’s event theme is “My Other Side”. What is your other side - the one people rarely think about or might not even know about?
Hmm, my other side must be my virtual side. I like to go into virtual reality chat rooms, become an avatar and explore the virtual space.
Do you ever get lost in virtual space?
I try to always stay partly in reality. Although, no matter how long I’m there, I always feel a bit weird after leaving the virtual world.
That’s it for now, but if you show up to TEDxOdense 2018 you can try out Sergio’s virtual reality goggles yourself! You can buy your tickets here!
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