Microsoft Working with Startups
For the past few months, I have been working with a company called VRPhysio. They are a data driven health company but specifically focusing on rehabilitation health using a virtual reality device. They are part of the Microsoft for Startups program called BizSpark and are able to take advantage of software and services along with other cool collaboration opportunities like the one that presented itself a few weeks ago.
At our New England Research and Development Center in Cambridge MA, the VRPhysio team set up shop for an all day user testing and feedback event for Microsoft and its employees. The goal was to not only to introduce the product but to gain valuable insights from employees who work at a desk for long hours. As you can imagine, the strain on the neck and back can be tough at times and difficult to treat without a physician present. VRPhysio brings the treatment to the office by providing virtual reality exercises to be performed during the course of the day. The data that is gathered can be analyzed for user specific treatment options at a later date.
There were over 20 participants in the study and rough 60% of them were between the ages of 20 and 30. Of these Microsoft employees in the study over half of them spend 9 hours or more a day sitting in front of a computer. With these long hours in front of a screen sitting at a desk can be challenging, 90% of the participants state they suffered or are suffering from neck and back pain while only 45% of the employees actually take a break to stretch or exercise during the day.
The participants would be the head gear on and perform a series of experiences, ranging from watching videos on a moving screen to playing a game. The idea behind all of these experiences was to track and determine a range of motion as well as gather the data for future treatment plans. One participant stated “as a software engineer I can do this on my break”. And that was the ultimate goal. To bring awareness of the positioning our bodies are in and a device and experience like VRPhysio can help reduce the fatigue.
It is collaboration like this, more than just the tech, that makes the Microsoft for Startups program truly unique.