Welcome to the Health Matters’ case studies series, where we will be speaking to the business leaders who have successfully used our programme to take their product or service to new heights in the health and care sectors
In this blog, we catch up with Carl Grainger, founding director at Viz Box Ltd.
Launched in 2020, Viz Box Ltd is dedicated to help children improve their mental health, concentration, coordination, and motor skills through immersive interactive game play via the company’s unique Sensory Virtual Reality (VR) equipment.
How did your company find out about the Health Matters programme?
I was looking online at help and support for start-up businesses and came across the LCR Health Matters website. I found the website to be incredibly useful and informative – basically I could see that the Health Matters programme could help my business go in the direction I wanted it to go in. I filled in the form on the website and Health Matters programme manager, Andy Cairns, got back to me the next day.
What challenges was your company facing prior to receiving support? What do you think the main barriers are for using emerging technology?
There were many challenges, even though I had been creating 360 video content for virtual reality to reduce stress and help with PTSD for Visual Therapies Ltd my none for profit organisations, this had always been on a small scale with local groups. This new application was entering the field of education and healthcare with the potential to make a huge difference if done correctly and had the correct support.
I am a single parent with children with additional needs and wanted to create something to make their lives and other special educational needs and disability (SEND) children’s lives more comfortable. I studied cases online, and then partnered with Liam Heron who is a virtual reality app developer to create the Sensory VR application. We trialed it ourselves but then I needed help with the development of the business to get it to a wider community,
The biggest barrier with bringing new technology or a new concept of technology into healthcare and education is the having the evidence of case studies, the research and proof of concept. When you have that you can then be confident that the end user is going to benefit in life by using the product.
What support did your company receive and how was it delivered?
The support I have received from the team at Health Matters, and in particular Andy Cairns, has completely exceeded all my expectations.
I had a number of sessions with Andy who immediately began to put things in place to support the business, such as introductions to key stakeholders at every stage of our business growth journey.
Importantly for the businesses, Andy introduced me to project partners Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), who are now completing a Real-World Validation for the business. The results from this study will add so much credibility and ultimately validation to the businesses enabling me to sell our service into the education and healthcare settings.
What new activity was your company able to do as a result of the support?
Working with the team at LJMU has enabled me to develop a protocol with the App and VR headsets for the use of mental health in children.
LJMU are also working with us in creating a platform for analysing and evaluating the data of the product in schools, from a child, parent and teacher perspective.
This data will be essential for us going forward.
What impact did the support have?
Working with LJMU on the Real-World Validation has really opened doors for the businesses. It has enabled us to get many schools, both mainstream and ones specifically for people with additional needs, on board. We are also working with Wirral Council who have also taken on the Sensory VR application and have been using it in their MODS programme (Make Our Day Special) which helps SEND children and families throughout holiday times.
We are experiencing more and more opportunities to grow the business and make a massive social impact for our communities, since the support of the Health Matters programme.
What are your company’s plans as a result of this support?
Our plans are huge, and very exciting!
We are looking to roll the headsets out to young people in all stages of the educational sector, as well as to charities working with children with additional needs. And for a full impact on ‘life’ we are looking to bring this to the home setting by working with the parents and carers too.
We also plan to develop the offerings of the VR headset to develop future therapeutic interventions such as haptic technology (creating an experience of touch by applying forces, vibrations or motions to the user), and olfactory technology (emitting odor-based cues through a mask teamed with VR goggles).
Looking ahead we have recently finished the development of the Wellbeing VR application side of the business. Wellbeing VR is aimed towards the public and private sector focusing on the mental health and stress management in the workplace.
Would you recommend the programme to other SMEs?
We would most definitely recommend this programme to other SME’s – it has been a game changer for my business. The level of support you receive is just amazing and having that alongside being able to test your business case through the Real-World Validation has meant we can provide robust real-world evidence to enable those working in healthcare and education to buy into what we are trying to achieve, thereby making a massive social impact for our community.
I can’t thank the LCR Health Matters team enough!
If you are interested in the Health Matters programme and think it could help you, get in touch with our team.
To find out more about Viz Box Ltd, please click here.