Abbott, BCA Launch Mixed-Reality Experience for Use During Blood Donation

January 10, 2023

Abbott and Blood Centers of America (BCA) launched a new mixed-reality experience for use during blood donation last week. The mixed-reality technology is an immersive digital experience designed to improve the blood donation process, attract new donors and motivate a younger generation to give blood.

Mixed-reality technology is similar to virtual-reality technology, but it allows users to see the real world around them as they immerse themselves in a digital world. Participants wear lightweight mixed reality headsets to enter a digital world, but they remain fully aware of their surroundings throughout the donation.

In this experience, blood donors visit a garden while listening to soothing music, planting seeds that grow into colorful trees and flowers. The experience was designed based on research that natural settings are the most preferred environment as donors give blood. The technology is currently being piloted on a limited basis at select BCA locations nationwide.

According to Abbot, the mixed-reality experience allows blood donation professionals to safely conduct the donation and interact with donors at every step of the process. Donors' eyes are always visible during the donation process to ensure constant monitoring and evaluation.

Through the technology, Abbott and BCA intend to address the global challenge of sustaining a reliable blood supply and the loss of donors younger than age 30.

"We’re always looking for ways to cultivate the next generation of blood donors and find younger people interested in giving," said Harpreet K. Sandhu, CEO, Stanford Blood Center, and chairperson, BCA. “Since the need for blood is constant, we’re continually looking for smart new ways that will appeal to people who have never donated before or may be apprehensive. The mixed reality experience is a terrific way to get those people interested in participating.”