ORLANDO, Fla. – A University of Central Florida professor is using virtual and augmented reality to help anyone dealing with stress, depression, or isolation because of the coronavirus pandemic.

What You Need To Know

  • Professor using app to help those dealting with stress amid pandemic

  • The app takes users on a virtual tour of UCF's arboretum

  • App was originally created as an informal education tool

  • 53% of adults reported mental health was negatively impacted by pandemic

The app created by Harrington Lab takes users through a virtual tour of UCF's 274-acre arboretum. The app was originally designed as an informal educational tool but Harrington realized it may help with mental health, especially among senior citizens and those who are hospitalized. 

“If they’re bedridden, in a wheelchair, they can use these apps to create virtual environments of nature in their homes," Harrington said. "It’s like a hollow deck, any time anywhere, any place, or anyone and I think the elderly will really enjoy that. I’m looking forward to the new partnership to work with the elderly on health and well-being research.”

Kaiser Family Foundation found, in mid-July, 53 percent of adults reported their mental health was negatively impacted by the coronavirus.