AARP Introduces Alcove Virtual Reality App to Help Families Stay Connected

AARP Introduces Alcove Virtual Reality
App to
Help Families Stay Connected

AARP Innovation Labs today released Alcove for Oculus Quest, a virtual reality home that helps families and friends stay connected and discover new experiences, no matter their travel budget, time, or mobility constraints. Alcove is the first family-oriented app to launch in the Oculus Quest store and offers a variety of settings for people to engage in together, including health and wellness activities, photo memory sharing, customized entertainment and games, and exploration of new places around the world.

Alcove was developed to help combat social isolation and loneliness by bridging physical distance between family members and friends through virtual experiences. Even before the current COVID-19 pandemic when Americans are advised to socially distance, social isolation was an increasing health concern, particularly for older adults. Studies show that prolonged isolation can be the health equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and can exacerbate existing health problems, such as lung disease, heart disease, and diabetes.

“Though we may be physically apart from our loved ones in these unprecedented times, we don’t have to feel alone,” said Richard Robinson, Vice President of AARP Innovation Labs. “Whether you’re touring Paris, swimming with dolphins in the Pacific Ocean, or playing a game of checkers, Alcove’s innovative platform empowers family members across generations to share a myriad of experiences together in a virtual space that is both safe and fun.”

Through Oculus Quest’s all-in-one system, Alcove users can engage in hundreds of different activities nearly anywhere, standing or sitting down, with just a VR headset. Among Alcove’s features, users can:

  • Invite friends and family: Bring loved ones into a shared virtual space, regardless of their location, to connect, play, and explore new worlds together.
  • Offer guests fully guided, controller-free experiences in VR: With the Lead / Follow feature, guests can put their controllers aside and let friends or family members show them new sights and explore new places around the world.
  • Relive family memories: Upload photos and videos, create and manage photo albums and collections, and choose how and where they show up on the walls of the Alcove home environment.
  • Play classic games: Checkers, chess, cognitive games, and more, with the ability to play against the computer, or against a family member.
  • Practice meditation: Guided or unguided three-dimensional breathing meditations can be practiced in remote nature locations like rainforests or beaches.
  • Travel the world: Dive in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, ride in a hot air balloon over a Kenyan safari, road trip across the U.S. in a convertible, or take a virtual walk through hundreds of major cities and destinations on any continent.

Alcove was created in partnership with startup Rendever, with content from creators including AARP, Blend Media, the Dolphin Swim Club, EcoVR, Georgieff Studio, Head Start Design JumbliVR, Paracosma, Parkline Interactive, Patched Reality, Sygic Travel, VArtisans, Virtuleap, and VR Health.