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
Level of collaboration Small group project (2-3 students)
Benefits Volunteer
Who is eligible All undergraduate students
Support Funding is available after the completion of the preparation badge. See below.

Project mentor

Cindi Tysick

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

UB Libraries

520C Lockwood Library

Phone: (716) 645-8629



To engage with this project, you will work through a series of Project-Based Collaboration digital badges to guide your experience. 

To get started, contact the project mentor using the contact information above to discuss availability and after you’ve received approval, you can start the Project Preparation Digital Badge. Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor

Preparation guidance

Once you have registered for the Project Preparation Digital Badge, you will receive further instructions related to the activities you will need to complete. In addition, you will also complete the following preparation activities for this particular project:

  • 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).