StoryUP and Our Conversation with Its CEO, Sarah Hill

On Wednesday, April 3, our VR class had the opportunity to Skype with Sarah Hill, former broadcast journalist and current CEO of a company called, “StoryUP,” a VR storytelling-based company. StoryUP is changing minds of VR doubters all across the world by simply taking advantage of this upcoming form of technology to share stories and experiences to those who need them the most.

Hill left her 20-year career in the broadcast journalism world to begin working with the Veterans United Network which lead her to the original mission of StoryUP, to bring Veterans to Washington D.C. to see the WWII Memorial through VR, when they reach the point in their lives where they could no longer physically travel.

“We found that these men and women were having to decline the opportunities to participate in physical honor flights and had to miss the precious opportunity to see the memorial before they passed away,” Hill said.

Hill explained that they used augmented reality through a device called “Google Glass” before they transitioned into using VR.

“We would walk around the WWII Memorial and be the arms and legs for these veterans and we would stream this footage back to veterans that were in nursing homes in their hometowns,” Hill explained.

After Google Glass was no longer being produced, Hill and her team at StoryUP moved their focus to VR journalism, and began their journey working their way into the medical field.

When I first heard Professor Stephenson explain this to us, I didn’t believe it. How could VR find a place within the medical field that’s full of medicine, vaccines, operations, doctors, nurses, etc.?

“In 2016, Dr. Jeff Tarrant and story technologist Sarah Hill started to study whether VR could be compounded to shift brainwave patterns and whether brainwaves could manipulate assets within a VR environment. Together Dr. Tarrant and Hill hold a provisional patent on VR therapy. StoryUP’s stories encompass a variety of forms from meditations to features using technologies including EEG, HRV, BCI, and neurofeedback.” (I’m sorry… what?)

We asked Hil what all of this meant, and if they were seeing any progress with this in 2019. She told us that they refer to the process at StoryUP as “Healium” and that they have massive amounts of scientific proof that this is working for many of its participants.

“Anyone going into journalism should be aware of this future market of creating these experiences that serve a therapeutic purpose,” Hill said. “It impacts their blood pressure, their heart rate, their breathing patterns. StoryUP and our product is a digital media-sudical that attempts to make people feel better.”

She explained that they have created a variety of experiences to help distract people while they’re giving blood, or other painful medical experiences, that is completely controlled by their feelings. This VR product is the world’s first brain computer interface product for mobile VR, and is powered by feeling of positivity, love, joy and appreciation.

She explained that they have created a variety of experiences to help distract people while they’re giving blood, or other painful medical experiences, that is completely controlled by their feelings. This VR product is the world’s first brain computer interface product for mobile VR, and is powered by feeling of positivity, love, joy and appreciation.

“You can put the headband on and are able to control your experience with the feeling of calmness and positivity,” Hill said. “We can put you in a magic snow globe, and as your feelings of positivity go up, the snow flurries start to fly around, and lights come on the screen.”

Hill also explained that users can see their brain’s EEG pattern in the lower part of the screen while participating in these experiences and as their calmness/positive feelings rise, the more they unlock during the experience.

More information supported by physical evidence can be found here.

Could this be just the beginning of VR’s existence within the medical field? As the years pass, I believe that VR will settle within this field nicely and eventually there will be VR headsets provided inside every medical facility for patience’s use.

“With these digital therapeutics you’re essentially giving people the sensation that their thoughts have power,” Hill said.

What do you think? Do you see VR being implemented more within the medical field within the next 5-10 years?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *