Building VR Neighborhoods and Moments for Dementia Patients

an elderly female wears virtual reality goggles.

Virtual Reality offers dementia patients the opportunity to relive happy moments in familiar surroundings from the comfort of their chair.

Project description

Dementia is characterized by memory loss, language challenges and impaired problem-solving skills. Dementia is an umbrella term for various memory and cognition diseases that affect patients in various ways. As these diseases progress, patients experience impaired daily function as well as changes in mood, behavior and familiar relationships.

The UB Libraries’ Education Services and Multimedia teams are partnering to offer students the opportunity to work on a cutting-edge Virtual Reality (VR) project aimed at providing dementia patients respite from daily impairments and feelings of isolation.

We are actively looking for students to join our team as VR content creators. If you are interested in health care, geriatrics, active learning, media studies, nursing, virtual reality, computer science or mental health, please contact us.

Groups of students will work together to identify local, popular, ethnic Buffalo neighborhoods to be filmed using the Libraries’ 3D cameras. Students will then edit the footage using the Libraries’ professional editing software. The files will be tagged and entered in the University at Buffalo Institutional Repository (IR) for retrieval by anyone interested in using the footage with dementia patients. Students will also have the opportunity to recreate and film famous moments in US history in 3D for use with VR technology. The Libraries is also seeking partnerships with health care faculty to test the footage in nursing home facilities in Western New York.

Project outcome

  • Identify famous local Buffalo neighborhoods and “institutions” 
  • Storyboard moments in US history 
  • Learn to use 3D equipment, video editing software and tagging conventions 
  • Collaborate with others to create video footage 
  • Edit footage using professional studio-quality software 
  • Submit finished footage into an Institutional Repository 
  • If possible, test the impact of VR footage on dementia patients

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment About a semester (3-5 months)
Start time Anytime
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration Small group project (2-3 students)
Benefits Volunteer
Who is eligible All undergraduate students

Project mentor

Cindi Tysick

Director of Education Services (Research, Education and Outreach);

UB Libraries

520C Lockwood Library

Phone: (716) 645-8629


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • An orientation for interested students will be held at the start and end of each semester. 
  • Students will work in small teams on either the "moments in history" or "local Buffalo neighborhoods". 
  • A reading list will be given to each group. 
  • Each student will be required to provide a summary of the readings (approximately 1000 words).


Research, Education, Outreach and Library