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Hate Giving Blood? Not Anymore, With This Mixed Reality Experience Hate Giving Blood? Not Anymore, With This Mixed Reality Experience
Abbott wants your blood, and it has new mixed reality technology to get it. At CES 2023, the health tech company unveiled a new... Hate Giving Blood? Not Anymore, With This Mixed Reality Experience


Abbott wants your blood, and it has new mixed reality technology to get it. At CES 2023, the health tech company unveiled a new mixed reality experience designed to make the blood donation process more pleasant. 

Because it’s mixed reality, not virtual reality, donors using the tech will be aware enough of their surroundings, but they’ll be set up with an immersive virtual experience that’ll take them away to a make-believe garden, where they can listen to music and plant seeds that grow into colorful plants. This all goes down while they’re in a health center, needle in arm, donating blood. It uses Microsoft’s HoloLens 2.

A patient donates blood while wearing a mixed reality headset.

Abbott

In partnership with Blood Centers of America, Abbott designed the technology in the hope of attracting new and younger donors. The effort is based on research showing donors prefer a natural setting while giving blood (because who wouldn’t). Abbott also said in a press release that “one of the biggest challenges” facing the nation’s blood supply is a drop in the number of donations from people under age 30. 

In the US, a person is in need of blood or platelets every two seconds, according to the American Red Cross. Reasons for needing a blood transfusion include injuries or car accidents, certain cancers or illnesses and natural disasters. People of any blood type can donate, but people with Type O blood (sometimes called “universal donors“) are in high demand.

In addition to younger folks, a mixed reality experience might help distract people who have a fear of needles during a blood draw, or help move the attention away from an unpleasant sensation of blood donation.

“Some people are hesitant to donate for a variety of reasons or just don’t think about giving blood,” Harpreet K. Sandhu, CEO of  Stanford Blood Centers and chairperson of Blood Centers of America, said in a press release. “Since the need for blood is constant, we’re continually looking for smart new ways that will appeal to people who have never donated before or may be apprehensive.”

When they’re using Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 during a blood donation, users’ eyes will be visible to ensure monitoring from the health care team. The lightweight headsets will be adjustable for comfort. 

Abbott says the blood donation and mixed reality experience is currently being tested “on a limited” basis at some Blood Centers of America locations. You can sign up to find out when it’s coming to a city near you here

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.



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