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The Official Launch of Hector VR

As a rural service delivery specialist, McLean Care® knows first-hand the challenges older people face in rural townships, properties and communities across Australia.

Imagine this scenario – you or your parents live in a small rural township – 45 minutes away from the nearest major town. There’s, no taxi, uber or public transport. A person’s licence is their key to independence, as well as their quality of life. Having a driver’s license enables a person to go to the shops, attend medical appointments, go to the post office and visit family and friends. A driving license is so important as it enables a person, to be part of a community.

We all know that as we grow older, people are capable of driving safely, but we also know that our driving capacity can begin to decline. The question we face is how do we provide people with the objective information they need to make an informed decision about ongoing driving competence as they age?

We trialled virtual reality technology here at Killean and we were blown away by the amount of residents who enjoyed it and were fully immersed in it. When a funding round came up from the Department of Health for technology-based innovation projects for older Australians, we were quick to submit an application for a bold new idea about how we could harness emerging technology to help solve the question of supporting older drivers to make an informed decision about driving competence.

Against a competitive field of applicants from across the country, we were one of only 6 projects that got the go-ahead, marking the beginning of the HectorVR Journey.

The HectorVR Driving Simulator gives objective information about how well people are observing common road rules such as giving way or indicating at a roundabout. HectorVR can give accurate information about reaction speeds and monitoring the driver’s heart rate, showing people which driving scenarios are the most anxiety-inducing for them.

But the HectorVR journey doesn’t end after the Official Launch… it’s just the beginning!

As I ponder broader road safety issues, it is clear, HectorVR has a potential range of much broader applications…
• young people learning to drive
• people learning to drive again after an accident
• people impacted by a disability learning to drive for the first time within the safety of a virtual environment.

As an organisation we are very excited as there has already been interest nationally and internationally about this home-grown product, from right here in Inverell in rural Australia.

Our technology development partners at Deakin University have become valued colleagues and it is a relationship I am sure will endure in to the future. I am hugely grateful to our local community for supporting and embracing this project the way they have. More than 50 older people from across the community have put their hands up to trial the new technology and be part of the research and development process. Every single one of them has challenged the stereotype that older people are not interested in new technology or are unable to learn how to use it.

The HectorVR Driving Simulator now lives in Inverell at the McLean Care® Technology and Innovation Centre and is available for all senior members of our communities.



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