Your eyes are drawn to the colorful garden, where trees and plants are sprouting up all around you. You could be embarking on an invigorating hike, but you're actually in a chair with a headset on, ready to donate blood.
The garden is the central feature of a new mixed reality experience designed to add a fresh element to the time-honored tradition of giving blood.
For the first time, Abbott and Blood Centers of America’s new mixed reality blood donation experience will be available for people to use at select Blood Centers of America donation sites across the country, just in time for World Blood Donor Day on June 14.
The immersive digital experience adds a novel dimension to giving blood to attract first-time and younger donors and helps address the challenge of sustaining a reliable blood supply.
The first-of-its-kind mixed reality experience is being offered at several blood donation sites across the country, including New York, the Chicago area, Houston and, in the coming weeks, Columbus, Ohio, and Dallas. To learn if mixed reality is available at a donation site near you, visit bethe1donor.com/mixedreality.
"This is an exciting new way to get people interested in donating blood," said Alex Carterson, divisional vice president, medical, scientific and clinical affairs, Abbott. "Mixed reality introduces a safe, fun dimension to the act of giving blood. We think this will resonate with people who have been hesitant to donate, those who have never donated and a younger generation who can become the foundation of the nation’s blood donation efforts for years to come."
One of the biggest challenges facing the sustainability of our nation's blood supply over the last decade is the loss of a significant portion of donors under the age of 30. On average only 3% of the U.S. population donates blood each year,1 and the past decade has seen a 30% decrease in donors 30 and younger.2
Donations tend to dip during the summer months, especially among younger people who are finished with school or taking time off from work. This year's theme for World Blood Donor Day is "Give blood, give plasma, share life, share often" and focuses on how donations help patients requiring life-long transfusion support.
As a global leader in screening blood and plasma, we partnered with Blood Centers of America, the largest blood supplier network in the U.S., to develop the experience, first showcased in January during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.