Veterans living in rural America can experience the sights and sounds of the nation’s war memorials in Washington D.C. thanks to a Kansas City-area startup’s virtual reality technology, powered by T‑Mobile 5G.
“We are losing our World War II veterans at a rate of hundreds a day, and sadly many may not live long enough to be able to see their memorials in person,” said Sarah Hill, founder and CEO of Columbia-based Healium. “This is such a powerful application that can help us reach veterans, including those living in small towns and remote locations. While nothing is as good as a real, in-person Honor Flight trip, this is a beautiful way to take veterans there if they’re not able to travel.”
Healium is an early leader in Mixed Reality solutions designed to improve mental fitness. Since 2015, it has supported the volunteer efforts of Central Missouri Honor Flight, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring those who served and sacrificed for our country. The Honor Flight Network is a national network of independent Hubs, each dedicated to transporting U.S. military veterans to see the Washington, D.C. war memorials at no cost to the veterans.
Click here to read about a new partnership between the U.S. Air Force and Healium, one of Startland News’ Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2020.
Launched in recognition of Military Appreciation Month, T-Mobile and Healium are equipping Honor Flight Network volunteers with VR headsets and Inseego 5G MiFi M2000 hotspots to allow veterans to virtually experience the memorials dedicated to them.
Because T-Mobile Extended Range 5G covers 1.6 million square miles, the toolkit enables volunteers to travel to remote locations, meet with veterans in their homes and run a high-bandwidth VR experience using the T-Mobile 5G network, according to the “un-carrier,” which operates the Kansas City-based T-Mobile Accelerator, as well as the T-Mobile Ventures investment fund, and is a co-founder of the 5G Open Innovation Lab.
Click here to read about the current T-Mobile Accelerator class, which debuted in early April. A demo day is set for the end of June.
“5G is the enabler for VR applications that can transport us to new places, giving us immersive experiences that better connect us to our world,” said John Saw, executive vice president of advanced and emerging technologies at T-Mobile. “We are delighted to team up with Healium and Honor Flight Network to help give back to those who have served our country. With 5GForAll we can bring transformative services such as this to everyone, including those living in rural America.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.