Virtual art project improves quality of life for seniors


Virtual reality is stepping into the wonderful world of art. With today’s VR technology, anyone who isn’t able to physically be present for exhibitions is now able to virtually be a part of what’s actually happening in society, says Emma Börjesson, project leader at Leap for Life.

Research shows that cultural activities have positive effects on our well-being. Sweden also has a national goal where everyone should be able and allowed to participate in cultural life. However, many senior citizens are struggling with participation in cultural events.

With this in mind, Halmstad municipality turned to Leap for Life, an innovation arena located at Halmstad University, and a virtual reality project was initiated.

Our VR solution is a wonderful way to make art available to whoever experiences difficulties in physically attending our museums and art halls.

Emma Börjesson, project leader at Leap for Life

Leap for Life has been conducting the project “An Art Walk With Digital Glasses”, with the purpose of bringing local art with a strong sense of recognition for senior citizens to those who no longer aren’t able to attend art halls.

“It’s really about testing and exploring the possibilities around utilizing VR for this target group,” Emma Börjesson says.

Anders Sällström

Emma Börjesson, project leader at Leap for Life


Filmed with 3D camera

In a collaboration between the cultural administration, the home care administration, the geographical information system in Halmstad municipality, and Danish company TakeAwalk, VR was tested on the target group to investigate the level of susceptibility for this type of technology and how it might be utilized. Leap for Life were responsible for compiling the experience.

“People in the test group were able to have their voice heard and affect the way we produced the VR experience. We had a lot of positive feedback from this part of the project,” says Emma Börjesson.

Because of TakeAwalk’s platform fitting the essential needs of the project, Leap for Life were able to create a local art walk which was then filmed by a 3D camera.

“We documented local art at Halmstad City Hall together with a speaking guide. Afterwards, we compiled a VR viewing which received very nice reviews.”

Navigating with your eyes

For safety reasons, the user, or visitor, is situated in a chair throughout the virtual art walk. For this particular occasion, an office chair was used with the ability to swivel and turn, without forcing the visitor to turn their head – something many senior citizens would otherwise not be able to do.

“This obviously hinders a walk-around-experience, but being able to swivel and turn still creates a sense of actually being there.”

There are symbols in the VR glasses which are activated with the assistance of the user’s eyes. This way, the visitor is navigating between art works and rooms by themselves.

“Our pilot’s quickly understood what they were able to do, and how to do it. We deliberately chose not to have too many symbols, in order to keep things simple.”

There were seven different pieces of artwork being presented. Among them, a mural, a textile piece, a sculpture and a relief. The average visiting time came out to around ten minutes.

All in all, the results were fair and Leap for Life is hoping to have this project further developed and used in different contexts, especially in senior citizen’s homes.

“We’re able to tailor the experiences based on need, there really is no limit to what experiences could be offered,” says Emma Börjesson and continues, “For us, it’s wonderful being able to offer a chance for senior citizens or people with certain restrictions to visit places like this, which they otherwise would not be able to. Only our imagination can stop us now.”


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“Give every child a voice for improved health and well-being”

Ten years of research at Halmstad University investigating child participation in healthcare resulted in an app. The app was developed by Galaco, a company connected to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, with a clear vision of having children being involved and having a voice on issues directly concerning themselves.

– We have a lot of work to do, and there’s a huge demand. We think it’s important to have a dialogue on the child’s own terms, says Sofia Lindholm, CEO Galaco AB.

Professors Petra Svedberg and Jens Nygren were initially concerned that the clinical research they’d devoted their time to for the last ten years at Halmstad University would become just a report. Which is why they decided to take the leap into the business world. 

Svedberg and Nygren’s research had resulted in different collaborations with people from both health and education. This, in turn, gave them both important insights regarding children’s participation in healthcare. They noticed a clear lack of tools, competence and collaboration – far too important elements to let it get stuck in scientific publications.

– This is about creating a safe space for children in healthcare. For them to feel safe, informed and assured that they can ventilate fears or worries about their state of health, Lindholm explains.

Digital playful communication

Just as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child became Swedish law on January 1 2020, Svedberg and Nygren founded Galaco based on their mutual research in innovative solutions used practically to make things better for children, and give them a voice in healthcare and education.

– Our ambition is to make it simple and played down, it shouldn’t be difficult for a child. We want them to feel involved and listened to in safe and comfortable conditions, Lindholm says.

The result was a playful, digital communications tool meant to increase the participation of children in healthcare, developed with the support of Svedberg and Nygren’s clinical research. The tool consists of an app where children interact in a virtual environment in order to put words on their thoughts and feelings. 

– It’s based on questions directly aimed at children and their everyday life, like school, their dreams and feelings.

– It’s based on questions directly aimed at children and their everyday life, like school, their dreams and feelings.

Sofia Lindholm, CEO Galaco, about their app for children

Galaco has developed a playful tool for children to participate in their own healthcare.

Galaco app för barn

App for children based on research

The app is a platform where the children’s work can be followed up and provide conditions for a care process based on the perspective and needs of the child. Which, in turn, will lead to better resource allocation and increased quality.

– Being able to ask these questions through a gaming format, we can make the children feel safe. But it’s also making it easier for adults to bring up certain tough topics. It’s immensly important for a child to be able to convey their feelings, during for example cancer treatments, Lindholm says.

In what context should the app be used?

– Primarily in healthcare, but we’ve also noticed a certain interest from the educational sector. There are many places in society where children and adults communicate and have interactions, like refugee centers, legal processes and the civil society. Here we are able to really strengthen the rights of the child.

How big is this need for innovation in healthcare?

– The need is big, but demand is too. We all need new ways to meet, new and young companies are able to receive help from larger and more established companies who are able to open doors and use their experience to help advance newcomers on the scene.

Galaco is a succesful startup who, at a very early stage, got in touch with Almi Företagspartner, a state-owned company offering loans and business development for small and mid-sized companies in the Halland region. Today, Galaco view themselves as a “locally grown” company with a background in research at Halmstad University. Which also made it natural for Galaco to have their headquarters situated in Halmstad and be activate in the entire region.

– We have a nice and big network here where we’ve established ourselves. There’s already a big interest in us as a company, and it’s an opportunity for us to lead the way when it comes to helping children, based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Sofia Lindholm says.

CIDD – Center for Information Driven Health Care.

A reason why Halland has the potential to innovate future healthcare

Is it possible to make healthcare better, more preventive and individualized at the same time as it becomes more efficient and less costly?

Coordinated, structured and anonymized health data

Since 2019, a world-unique potential to innovate health care has been developed in Halland. All the health data in Halland has been collected, coordinated and structured into an anonymised data warehouse. And the purpose? To use the data warehouse in order to take analyzed and fact-based decisions – both for patients and the health care organization as a whole. To get an overall picture regarding both quality and efficiency, data is required that covers the entire organization, from journals to HR and financial systems.

A regional organizational function

CIDD is also a regional organizational function that works directly with the data warehouse to manage and analyze Halland’s health data. The organization functions as a support for people and initiatives that need to use the information in the data warehouse in various ways. A kind of hub for fact-based decisions that are based on a broad overall picture of the healthcare organization.

CIDD’s analyzes can be both simple and limited, but also complex and comprehensive. Sometimes machine learning (AI) is used, a competence that has been built up in close collaboration between Region Halland and Halmstad University.

Organizations working close to CIDD

Innovation platform and research centers like Health Data Center, CAISR Health and Leap for Life  are all connected to CIDD in different ways.

Want to talk more about CIDD? Get in touch here.