Christina York, Co-Founder & CEOWhen the first Augmented Reality app for smartphone was introduced in 2008, it flung open the gates for numerous purpose-driven AR solutions. Since then, augmented reality has been the technology gung-ho, that organizations are rooting for, to create content-rich experiences for their customers. Keeping in line with the development of contextual AR environments, Ann Arbor, MI-headquartered ALTality is leveraging augmented reality in hospitals. The company has found traction in the healthcare arena to help therapists reduce procedural costs and improve patient experience. Started as a joint venture by Christina York and Marjorie Knepp, ALTality assists hospitals in employing AR technology to help pediatric patients acclimate to the hospital environment. “ALTality allows kids to interact with the digital environment to help distract them during painful procedures,” explains Christina York, Co-Founder and CEO, ALTality.
SpellBound—the flagship product from ALTality—encompasses a series of AR books for children, and other print distraction tools. Combining a myriad of resources and technology, SpellBound is an app that can be installed on smartphones and tablets that when held against an eBook or paperback book can recreate the sceneries and brings the characters to 3D life. It also incorporates activities and interactions that encourage users to engage more deeply and creatively with the content. Extending beyond traditional book experiences, SpellBound can also communicate with television screens, yielding live environmental ambience. “It triggers off the TV in the room and can make a tree grow in the corner of the room,” illustrates Christina.
ALTality’s product, SpellBound, is in use at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, where child life specialists use it with patients to distract during painful or scary moments so the procedure goes quicker and smoother. They also use the tools to combat boredom and engage kids with reading. ALTality designs AR in context of the hospital, ensuring that the experiences are appropriate for patients and are efficient, working in a cloud environment.
SpellBound allows kids to interact with the digital environment to help distract them during painful procedures in a healthcare setting
By embellishing the process of administering medical procedures to pediatric patients, ALTality has worked collaboratively with a few major pediatric hospitals to enhance the patient experience, keeping the cost in check. On one instance, a leading pediatric hospital in the country wanted to bring changes to their system by helping patients understand their disease and treatment course better. The hospital was on the lookout for tools or specialists, which would refine patient experience, and deepen engagement. ALTality had catered to the hospital’s specific needs with the SpellBound platform boosting the end outcome for the healthcare institution, which is patient experience.
ALTality collaborates with therapists, teachers, and children to develop products that solve pain points for hospitals, therapists, and their patients. Driving innovation in areas that can create superlative patient experiences and, at the same time, decrease procedural cost, ALTality invites people who are passionate about technology and cause through its internship programs. “We spend a lot of time building relationships with the community, making people aware of our mission, and thereby developing a pool of people who are in line with ALTality’s mission,” states Christina.
With more interactive features like reward programs for kids that would be included in the SpellBound app, the vendor has plans for diversifying the content provided and extend its benefits to adults as well. ALTality continues to underpin healthcare and ultimately, education, with augmented reality establishing engagement and encouraging learning. “We see so much potential in bridging the physical and digital world, combining them in meaningful ways for social good,” affirms Christina.