Virtual reality

Your connection between real and virtual world

Blood Donation in a New Dimension

Abbott and Blood Centers of America are launching a first-of-its-kind mixed reality experience for use during blood donation.

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Mixed reality combines the real world with virtual elements, providing an educational and interactive experience for blood donors and those considering it. It’s also crucial to highlight World Blood Donor Day to raise awareness about the significance of voluntary blood donation and encourage more participants, as this can save numerous lives.

For the first time, Abbott and Blood Centers of America have unveiled a new blood donation experience in mixed reality, available at selected donation centers across the country, including New York, the Chicago area, Houston, and, in the upcoming weeks, Columbus, Ohio, and Dallas, coinciding with World Blood Donor Day on June 14th.

One of the greatest challenges faced in sustaining blood supply over the last decade has been the loss of a significant portion of donors under the age of 30. In the US, for example, only about 3% of the population donates blood each year, with a 30% decline in donors aged 30 and younger over the past decade.

“This is an exciting and innovative way to engage people in blood donation,” said Alex Carterson, Vice President of Medical, Scientific, and Clinical Affairs at Abbott. “Mixed reality introduces a safe and fun dimension to the act. We believe it will resonate with those who were hesitant to donate, those who have never donated before, and the younger generations who may become the foundation of blood donation in the years to come.”

This year’s World Blood Donor Day theme is “Give blood, give plasma, share life, often,” focusing on how giving helps patients in need of lifelong transfusion support. The centerpiece of the new mixed reality experience is a garden, designed to add a fresh element to the revered tradition of blood donation. To create this experience, they utilized Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headset, placed on the donor’s head, immersing them in the serenity and beauty of lush greenery. This allows them to get a closer look at the entire process, interact with clinic staff, and ease any discomfort or fear of needles.