30/01 2019

Look for the stars with Virtual Reality and train your neck

The entrepreneurs behind AWE have developed a prototype that can guide and motivate users to do correct neck-exercises.

The entrepreneurs of AWE have developed a digital trainer which can guide and make routine neck-exercises more exciting and motivating.

“We know that it can be difficult to find the motivation to carry out the repetitive exercises the physiotherapist urges us to do. The goal with Stargazer is to make an app, which, in the long term, can help relieve neck pain in a guided and motivational way for the user. We have come a long way.” Says Per Beck Hansen, CEO of AWE, and continues:

“We believe that with our product, virtual reality is the technology with which we can be the most effective. When you have something visual, you have an anchor that makes it easier to guide the users.”

Stargazer is a Virtual Reality game, where the user must pair star constellations, point-to-point, and therethrough train his neck. The user begins by drawing a circle on the night sky, which indicates the safe zones, wherein the user can move his neck without feeling pain. Then, the challenge is to connect the stars by moving the head to where the star lights up in the sky.

AWE consists of a team of four people with backgrounds as sound designers from Aarhus University and as digital concept designers from KEA.

“It has been a very exciting project to work with. We have had this project in mind for over two years, so it’s awesome to finally get to produce it.” Per Bech Hansen says. Generally, AWE primarily  works with sound and sound-design in XR, installations, and 360 degrees videoes.

Easy and motivating to do exercises at home

The prototype is a task giving by the EU-project, Cross Motion, where Filmby Aarhus is a partner and is responsible for all activities in Denmark. Stargazer is showcased at the final Cross Motion event in Tallinn 20.-21. of February 2019.

AWE sees the strength in the low cost and easy technology that can come home with the patient.

“When you go to the physiotherapist and show him how you do your exercises, it’s like the time when you went to the school dentist. You were very good at brushing your teeth at the dentist, but the dentist didn’t get to see if you were brushing your teeth at home. The same goes for the physiotherapist who will never know if the patient is doing the neck-exercises at home.”Per Beck Hansen says.

The prototype seeks to solve this problem by collecting data which can we present visually. The data should act as a motivation for the patient to show their progress and for the physiotherapist to see if the exercises are done properly and regularly.

A combination of Virtual Reality and clinical exercises

One of the challenges for AWE has been to make sure that their product rehabilitates the neck in a proper way. Therefore, they have worked closely with the Maersk McKinney Moller Institute and the Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, from the University of Southern Denmark.

“It has been very valuable for the product to get feedback from the physiotherapist’s clinical aspect, so we can structure the exercises, so it is done properly.” Per Beck Hansen says.

As a sound designing company, he points out that sound design and music have been central parts in the development of the prototype. “Music works at an unconscious level. People suffering from whiplash can be nervous to move their neck, but music can remove focus from their pain and cause them to go across the border of their pain.”

“We would like to continue to be frontrunners and push the boundaries for what can be done with sound in VR, AR, and XR. And, to be a part of exciting projects spread out in different industries.” Per Beck Hansen adds.

AWE will continue to work on the prototype until the final show in Tallinn. Going forward, they will do a great deal of testing. Per Beck Hansen is hoping for further collaboration with the University of Southern Denmark and strives to develop the prototype as a commercial product if they can obtain funding for the development.

About Stargazer:

Stargazer is a digital trainer for performing neck exercises through VR and is developed by AWE. Team: Per Beck Hansen, Egil Sandfeld Gregersen, Alice Ernestina Bryony Jennings, Stéphane Le Borne and Flemming Westberg.

About Cross Motion:

Cross Motion is an EU-based network between the countries of the Baltic Sea Region that offers business development activities and supports the development of the digital visual industry in health, education, and tourism.

Look below for more pictures of Stargazer and the team behind it: