YOU-AR-OK: Canada’s newest quarantine buddy

A new augmented reality solution will soon be available to Canadians. Hoffmann-La Roche Limited (Roche Canada) has awarded funding to My Viva Inc., the University of Alberta’s Rehabilitation Robotics Laboratory (Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine) and ELIXR Simulations to jointly develop the YOU-AR-OK avatar, a virtual health application to support users with their health and wellbeing during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

According to recent Ipsos research, a majority of Canadians (56%) say COVID-19 is impacting their mental health and less than half (42%) of them are seeking treatment. YOU-AR-OK provides users with an evidence-based journaling approach to promote mental health, nutrition and physical wellness using AR-guided interaction and encouragement.

Out of the more than 800 applications Roche Canada received through its COVID-19 Open Innovation Challenge, YOU-AR-OK was among the 11 projects awarded funding. In times of social-distancing, the YOU-AR-OK app will act as a friendly ‘self-help’ quarantine buddy to engage and guide users with specific steps for improving their mental health based on professional clinician input. The app’s release is planned for late summer 2020 and will be offered free to Canadians through the app store.

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June 3, 2020