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Virtual Medicine

Dr. Brennan Spiegel at the Virtual Medicine Conference: the effect of Wild Dolphin VR is remarkable

By | News
Reading Time: 2 minutes

In March, the Cedars-Sinai hospital organized the second Virtual Medicine Conference in Los Angeles. While we could not be physically present this year, the Dolphin Swim Club was highlighted by the director of Health Services Research (and GI doctor) Dr Brennan Spiegel. In an introductory keynote speech, he explained our current understanding of pain and anxiety and the healing effects of Virtual Reality therapy, using various examples, including the Dolphin Swim Club.

Counteracting the ruminating mind

Using Wild Dolphin VR as an example, Dr Brennan Spiegel explains Virtual Reality’s ability to counteract the ruminating mind. He explained that a Virtual Reality experience is like taking a psychedelic. It has the ability to temporarily dissolve the ego-self, allowing insights that normally would not receive mind space.

Dr Brennan Spiegel: ‘We use the 360 video content of the Dolphin Swim Club all the time in our patients. Just recently I had a patient who was hospitalized for abdominal pain and anxiety. She had had every test: she had had an endoscopy, a CT scan, a blood test… And everything was normal. We showed her the Wild Dolphin VR experience. And after about four minutes she said… “I think I know why I have this pain. It’s my brother. He had stomach cancer and he died. And I’m sure I do too, and I’m going to die like he did.” And I said: “but we’ve been in your stomach, you don’t have stomach cancer.” And she said: “I know that, but I have not been willing to accept that. These dolphins are telling me I need to. I could have been on the couch for a year and I wouldn’t have come to this conclusion.” It’s remarkable! We’ve seen this over and over again. It doesn’t work with all people and all times. But when it works, it works.’

Interested in the full keynote? You can watch it here.
Do you want to know more about Virtual Reality in healthcare? You can read more about its healing effects on our Medical VR page.

Wild dolphins in Albuquerque

Wild dolphins in Albuquerque

By | News, Special Projects
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dogwood

In February 2019 our research assistant Georgia Smith accompanied the Dolphin Swim Club’s Marijke & Benno to California to start a collaboration with the Chariot Project in Stanford Children’s Hospital. Georgia is an MSc Human-Animal Interaction student from the University of Stirling (UK).
During her research at Stanford, Georgia came into contact with Melissa Winke.
Melissa is the owner of Dogwood Therapy Services and President of Animal Assisted Intervention International.
She was very interested in her patients swimming with our wild dolphins.
And so Georgia and the dolphins made their way to Albuquerque!

“The dolphins are amazing.  I can see the applications for this could be huge for so many people.”

Dogwood works with people with a variety of disabilities, to participate in activities that are meaningful to them regardless of physical, cognitive or psychiatric disabilities. Georgia helped 22 of their patients to “swim” with our wild dolphins.
And what fun they had!

Wild dolphins in Albuquerque

Georgia prepared a questionnaire about how the children experienced their first encounter with our wild dolphins. And while some of them were initially worried about sharks, they all had a wonderful time.
“You really feel like you are there.”
“The dolphins are cute – I like that the divers are saving us from the sharks.”
“I felt my breathing slow and calm. It made me want to go to a lake where we always used to go to. It brought back memories of that.”

And their reply to the question if they would like to do it again?
“Oh my god, thousand times over, every day!”


Photos courtesy of Melissa Winkle
Medical VR

Belgian tv-programme Tout s’explique airs feature on the Dolphin Swim Club

By | News
Reading Time: 1 minute

In January 2019, the Belgian tv-programma Tout s’explique aired a feature on the Dolphin Swim Club. This 25-minute show tries to explain different topics (such as news, science, politics, religion etc.) in a simple and approachable manner.

Dolphin birthday party

In this report, the host of the show Thomas van Hamme went swimming with our wild virtual dolphins, in real water. We also visited an operating theatre in the Clinique Saint Jean (Brussels), where anaesthetist Arnaud Bosteels produces great results in reducing anxiety in young patients, using our Wild Dolphin VR. Before undergoing surgery, young children often experience anxiety. Dr. Bosteels aims to calm them by inviting them to the dolphin birthday party before introducing the VR goggles.

HKU Awards 2018

‘Our’ Michael Hildering wins HKU Award for his internship at the Dolphin Swim Club

By | News
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

A little while ago, our intern Michael Hildering left the Dolphin Swim Club to graduate. He was very much involved with the research and development of our Wild Dolphin UnderwaterVR goggles. For his final exams, he wrote a detailed report about the process. These efforts did not go unnoticed as Michael was nominated for an HKU Award by his university, in the category Entrepreneurship.

Needless to say, we were thrilled to hear Michael has won the HKU Award! He has won a sum and associated medal.

Making new connections is my speciality. You could call me a Connector. I am passionate about designing new ideas and applying them by connecting different sectors. In doing so, I am constantly looking for disruptive innovation and how I can put that into context. My university encouraged me to develop these skills, which came in handy at the Dolphin Swim Club. My double internship at this organization helped me to experience how to connect the dots between Virtual Reality, healthcare, nature conservation, the cultural sector, the underwater world and 3D printing.

Well Done, Michael! We couldn’t be more proud.

HKU Awards 2018
Logo

The Dolphin Swim Club wins the 2018 HUS Design Prize

By | News
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

We are happy and proud that the Human Underwater Society has awarded our UnderwaterVR project with the HUS Design Prize. The is the first contest dedicated to human immersion and water sports. The competition was fierce: students, freelancers, companies and other organisations from around the world. The theme of 2018 was the social impact of access to the water.

We were overwhelmed to find out we came first in not just one, but two categories:

  • We have won the first prize for Education for the Dolphin Swim Club
  • And we have won the first prize for Independants for our UnderwaterVR goggles.

We would like to thank the Human Underwater Society for putting the Dolphin Swim Club in the spotlights. It is great they use their platform to broadcast the promise of Virtual Reality in healthcare. And of course, spread the magic of our wild dolphins.

So it seems another adventure is awaiting us in 2019. We will visit Tahiti to collect the prize and present our project. Do you want to stay up to date about this, or our other adventures? Sign up for our newsletter below.

 


 

LogoThe Human Underwater Society is supported by the Maritime Cluster of French Polynesia, the Chamber of Commerce and Trades of French Polynesia, the School of Innovation of Paris ESIEE, the French Institute of the Sea, the ORPHY laboratory of the University of Brest, the Dive Alert Network Foundation DAN, the Society of Engineers and Scientists of France and the association “the 9th continent”.

Lysanne

Lysanne joins our team as Communications Officer

By | News
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

The magic of our dolphins is touching people all over the globe. We are currently present in over 500 hospitals worldwide. Of course, that is great news, but it also means a lot of hard work. That is why we are so pleased Lysanne is joining our team as Communications Officer.

‘As a young girl I was quite obsessed with dolphins. From jewellery and pillows to diaries and stuffed animals, my world revolved around these fantastic animals. Growing up, I forgot about the magic of dolphins. But some years ago on a trip to the Maldives I swam with them in the wild, rekindling my passion. I started volunteering at an NGO and spent my weekends teaching children about dolphins in captivity versus dolphins in the wild. And that is where I met Benno, who asked me if I wanted to join the team. I am excited to help the Dolphin Swim Club take their communications to the next level and bring you more stories about what is happening within the organisation.’

Lysanne
Siggraph Award

the Dolphin Swim Club wins ACM SIGGRAPH Award for Innovation at Laval Virtual

By | News
Reading Time: 1 minute

ACM SIGGRAPH presents awards to recognize exceptional achievements in computer graphics and interactive techniques.
In April 2018, we visited Laval Virtual in France. This is an important exhibition and conference on Virtual Reality and immersive techniques.
You can imagine our shock and excitement when we won an ACM SIGGRAPH Award for Innovation with our Wild Dolphin Waterproof VR!
Of course, this is a huge acknowledgement to the efforts of the team (including the dolphins), and we could not be more proud!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the whole team behind the project of the Dolphin Swim Club.
Naturally, we celebrated with the whole team. On to new adventures!

Siggraph Award
Olivijnfestijn

Students of Olivijn organize inspiring activity with the Dolphin Swim Club

By | News, Special Projects
Reading Time: 1 minute

Olivijnfestijn

Every June, the Dutch primary school Olivijn organizes the Olivijnfestijn. This year, teacher Onno challenged the students of their Talentlab (an extracurricular class for bright children) to come up with an activity that they could perform together with children living with a disability. Student Sem wanted to have these kids experience swimming with wild dolphins. He wrote a beautiful letter to the Dolphin Swim Club, asking if we could help. And of course, we did not want to miss out on this inspiring activity!

Swimming with wild dolphins in Virtual Reality

So our intern Michael visited Olivijn last Wednesday. Together, the children swam with the wild dolphins in Virtual Reality. They had such a great time! The whole team, including teacher Onno and photographer Julia, had stars in their eyes. Thanks to Sem and the Talentlab, over 100 children could swim with the wild dolphins, and our seals as well! And on top of organizing this great event, the staff of Olivijn decided to donate the proceedings of the day to the Dolphin Swim Club. Thank you so much. You are heroes!

Special projects

Do you have an inspiring idea and do you want to organize a special activity together with the Dolphin Swim Club? Check out our Special Projects and get in touch with our team!