Seniors are one of the groups most at risk not only during the coronavirus pandemic. They often stay alone in their private homes, are socially isolated or spend the close of their lives in medical or social facilities. Lack of contact with the outside world is a major problem for their mental and physical health. With his start-up Flying Kale, Marek Háša has therefore launched the Kaleido project, which by means of virtual reality will take seniors on trips around the Czech Republic and to various places throughout Europe. Thanks to a campaign on HitHit, Kaleido wants to provide virtual-reality headsets and special content for individual activation to seniors’ homes in the Czech Republic. Thousands of seniors can thus expect extraordinarily vivid experiences that will delight and mobilise them in an entertaining manner.
Marek, the project’s originator, who lives in Amsterdam, describes the work on the project for us: “Our initial idea was to maximally help seniors in various facilities, where they would get into a completely different world thanks to virtual reality. Due to poor health, they can’t go back to certain places or to places they didn’t have a chance to see before. They could sail on a canal in Amsterdam in summer, take a walk in the Šumava mountains or enjoy the bustling atmosphere of London.” The Flying Kale team has completed the initial testing of the entire concept at the Chodov Seniors’ Home and has received an outstanding response. However, the development of the Kaleido tool and its introduction to the market has been significantly complicated by the pandemic, which has hindered access to all funding for additional services and redirected all energy toward ensuring safety and basic care. “Therefore, we launched a crowdfunding campaign on HitHit, where people can contribute any amount to the project. In return, they can choose from a broad offer of handmade products from the seniors themselves, such as a candle or crocheted seat cushion, or they can plan their own trip with us and such! If we succeed in collecting the target amount, we will be able to deliver VR headsets and tailored trips for seniors to homes completely free of charge, thus beautifully enriching their lives and making this extremely difficult time more pleasant,” Marek adds. The HitHit campaign runs until 18 June 2020 and Marek and his team firmly believe that the Kaleido project will see the light of day in summer. They would like to further develop Kaleido and bring it to foreign markets in the future.
Joining forces with Hack the Crisis
Projects that actively address problems connected with the coronavirus crisis are supported by CzechInvest’s Hack The Crisis virtual hackathon. Marek’s Kaleido project gained an angel mentor in the person of Anna Hight, project manager at CzechInvest, who is helping to find the right mentors and experts for the project. Hight adds: “Kaleido was one of the first projects to sign up for the hackathon. It thus gained access to great mentors who are pushing the project forward. Since it is a social project, the first choice was of course consultation with Petr Vítek of ImpactHub, who focused particularly on the market-entry strategy. Due to the ongoing HitHit campaign, the key elements are a PR campaign and support, with which Jitka Pajurková, an external communication specialist at O2, is assisting Kaleido.”
The hackathon has its own motto, #BojujemeSpolečně (“#FightingTogether”), and these two words say it all. Older people are very vulnerable and isolated, and all projects that help them deserve tremendous thanks!
We wish the entire Kaleido team luck and we look forward to the time when our grandmas and grandpas can travel around the Czech Republic or anywhere else with your VR headsets from the comfort of their living rooms.