Hate Giving Blood? Not Anymore, With This Mixed Reality Experience

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

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Since this is mixed reality and not virtual reality, donors using this technology will be well aware of their surroundings, but will be given an immersive virtual experience that transports them to a fictional garden where they can listen to music and plant seeds , from which colorful plants will grow. This all goes down when they are at the health center with a needle in hand donating blood. Using HoloLens 2 from Microsoft.

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A patient donates blood while wearing a mixed reality headset.


Working with Blood Centers of America, Abbott designed the technology in hopes of attracting new and younger donors. The effort is based on research showing that donors prefer a natural environment when donating blood (because who wouldn’t). Abbott also said in a press release that “one of the biggest challenges” facing the country’s blood supply is the decline in donations from people under the age of 30.

According to the American Red Cross, a person in the US needs blood or platelets every two seconds. Reasons why a blood transfusion is needed include injuries or traffic accidents, certain cancers or diseases, 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 people, a mixed reality experience can help distract people who are afraid of needles during a blood draw or help distract from the unpleasant feeling of donating blood.

“Some people are hesitant to donate for a variety of reasons or simply don’t consider donating blood,” Harpreet K. Sandhu, CEO of Stanford Blood Centers and president of Blood Centers of America, said in a news release. “Because the need for blood is constant, we are always looking for clever new ways to reach people who have never donated before or who may be concerned.”

When users use Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 during blood donation, users’ eyes will be visible to ensure monitoring by the medical team. Lightweight headsets will be adjustable for comfort.

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

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 care provider with any questions regarding health conditions or health goals.


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