VR in Health and Education: trends and opportunities

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VR in Health and Education: trends and opportunities

When talking Virtual and Augmented Reality one first think about entertainment and gaming and yet, the biggest breakthrough affecting the lives of people around the world might be happening not only there. For the past few years, there were more and more examples of successful usage of VR and AR technologies in healthcare and education. So why Nordics? The answer is — the results. The Nordic countries have been regularly rated among the highest in the world in healthcare and education. Also, they are among the forerunners when it comes to integration of the latest technologies into practice.

HEALTH & VR/AR

There are multiple use cases for VR/AR in health: from making a more accurate diagnosis to bringing mental support to a new level, to making professional health education even better.

And while VR in health will be a good business, as global virtual patient simulation market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 19.6% over the next decade to reach approximately 1.28 billion euro by 2025, according to “Virtual Patient Simulation Market Analysis and Trends- Technology, Product – Forecast to 2025″. It is also a great space to make a change, by helping medical professionals train and reduce medical errors, making rehabilitation practices more engaging, and consequently more effective, and so on.

Vertical, together with Samsung, and the largest hospital in Europe, Hospital District of Hospital and Uusimaa, provide a support for international and local health & wellbeing tech startups, by sharing guidance and platform for co-creation and piloting innovations in the clinical and real-world environment. The number of startup applications which could be categorized as VR/AR has been definitely growing, but still far from reaching its peak. Some of the interesting cases include:

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Practigame complements traditional healthcare education methods with safe and cost-effective simulation environments. By using engaging gaming elements in virtual simulations and integrating the clinical reasoning process into the game mechanics, the company enhances the development of clinical reasoning and offers meaningful learning experiences.

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Better Day combines immersive virtual reality environments with therapy for seniors, freeing them from physical constraints in a virtual environment and taking them to places they want to visit while carrying out cognitive and physical training.

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IISCI  has developed and introduces a completely new technology for restoring motor skills: combining biomechanics, machine learning, neuroscience, VR and computer graphics.They utilize neural networks which constantly learning from the patient and adjusting the program, making it more engaging and fun, assuring the patient keeping on with the program and not dropping out. This technique allows patients to get almost twice better rehabilitation.

EDUCATION & VR/AR

Analysts expect education to be the 4th largest sector for VR/AR investment. By 2025 VR tech in education should grow to a $700 million industry. Why? Because learning is not enough anymore and now both students and teachers want to ‘feel and experience’ the subject.

Now the technology allows us to observe other galaxies and tiny microbes instead of just reading about them. Through interactions with dimensional objects, the natural sciences provide an endless spectrum of opportunities for content creators in VR. One of them, the UK-based startup Nano Simbox offers a unique digital science learning platform that provides a combination of beautiful yet rigorously scientific molecular journeys with 3D simulations.

Nano Simbox is a graduate of xEdu Spring ’17 acceleration program. xEdu is Nordic’s leading accelerator for startups innovating in education. With strong support from Samsung, xEdu has built a unique edtech ecosystem that allows the startups to co-create their solutions with the public schools in Finland and expand internationally.

With each program, xEdu receives more and more applications from startups transforming education through the VR and AR: from learning games platforms, creative math lessons to professional medical training and interactive documentaries. Two startups from xEdu Fall ‘16 batch were showcasing their solutions in the Samsung booth at Slush 2017, and 3DBear made it to the Top-10 startups of this year's Slush.

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3DBear makes 3D printing fun and engaging in schools using VR and AR to teach students in 3D. 3DBear AR (Augmented Reality) is a gamified learning application that allows users to implement virtual 3D models in a real living environment. In this series of multidisciplinary learning modules, students can use the application to (re)design their physical surroundings, create art objects and plan games for themselves. Recently, 3DBear has raised over one million euros with US VC-backed financing which is

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Lyfta creates interactive VR-documentaries that make serious topics accessible, engaging and fun for learners, and easy to teach and assess for educators. A series of creative activities and assessments, designed by Finnish and British pedagogical experts, complement the engaging digital content.


Interested to learn more about how VR & AR could make this world a better place?  Building a startup in health or education and want to connect with Samsung?

If you are into education — Apply for xEdu Spring '18 acceleration program by the end of December.

If you are into health & wellbeing – You can apply until December 17 to Vertical's Spring batch 2018.

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Developing education with Microsoft — new opportunities for startups

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Developing education with Microsoft — new opportunities for startups

With the opening of the new application round for xEdu acceleration program, let us share with our startup community some collaboration opportunities and insights on edtech from our partner Microsoft.

Microsoft is often associated with global technology, but did you know it is also a worldwide leader in developing solutions in education?

Kati Tiainen, director of Microsoft's digital learning strategy EMEA has participated in XcitED — the biggest edtech event of Slush 17 program. "In a digital era, we need to learn how to collaborate and communicate [in a classroom]. Technology is just a tool and it's up to us whether to passively consume or to create and learn with it."— said Kati. Here, you can watch the full discussion on how technology can help us learn empathy and social skills.

Replacing the complexity with creativity

From her work across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, she said she has recognized the needs for less complex platforms; basic, shared and personalized learning; and scalable solutions. As the Internet continues to be accessible to more and more people around the globe, STEM skills—science, technology, engineering and math—are necessary for life in the 21st century.

With AI, robots and learning algorithms eventually replacing many people in the everyday routine workforce, creative problem-solving is the key for our kids to be ready for the future. And to do it, global education platforms will be needed. It’s a tremendous responsibility for educational professionals, but the successful marriage of technological and educational fields will make it possible. 

Edtech startups wanted!

If you’re a startup innovating in education, if you are solving the burning problems mentioned above and you need support on your way — apply for xEdu Spring '18 program and get the support from Microsoft!

Not only does Microsoft have the platform to help you, with software such as Office36 and Azure, they also have the people. A support team of 500 whose work is devoted solely to education. That support team can help you draft new business models and positively affect how you interact with partners and clients. 

It is just one of many partnership opportunities that come with joining the xEdu startup community — so do not hesitate and apply by the end of December.

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XcitED: first feedback, photos and video

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XcitED: first feedback, photos and video

"It is widely estimated that education technology is the next big thing. That is why many education startup companies are also participating in Slush every year. This year, xEdu Business Accelerator has also organized an education side event called Xcited. The event included both the stage program on learning and a demo area for startups. The popularity of the demo area was so big that it was impossible to move around the stands. The energy level was like in a small village."Sanoma Pro.

"Combining education and technology is one of the hot topics and investment opportunities of the near future, summed up the founder of Skype Niklas Zennström at Slush on November 30. This was also reflected in Slush's program this year. Organized for the first time XcitED side event brought together over one thousand entrepreneurs, investors and professionals interested in the future of education." — TEK.


Education was strongly represented in Slush’s education side event yesterday. XcitED brought to Helsinki Messukeksus education professionals, edtech startup entrepreneurs and investors from around the world. — Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö.


The xEdu team is grateful to everyone involved in organizing XcitED — the greatest edtech event of Slush 2017. Our volunteers, partners, speakers, startups and our guests, of course — without you it wouldn't have happened!

  • More than 1000 people visited the event.
  • More than 260 viewers joined XcitED online stream provided by Telia Digitalist TV.
  • #XcitED was among the Top hashtags on 30 November with more than a million impressions. Thanks for being active!

We have gathered the most exciting moments from the event in our gallery. Find yourself and share with your friends.  Also, in case you have missed some of the great discussions at XcitED, with Digitalist TV by Telia you can revisit the event and enjoy the stage program once again.

Photo credit: Elissa  Jokela


Last but not the least!
The application round for our 5th acceleration program is now open!
Join the best edtech ecosystem in the world, co-create your product with Finnish schools and collaborate with our corporate partners, such as Samsung  & Telia Finland

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Application for xEdu Spring '18 program is now open

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Application for xEdu Spring '18 program is now open

Join the best EdTech ecosystem in the World and take your startup to the next level — apply for xEdu Spring acceleration program! 

Based in Finland, we maximize upon the expertise of our nation’s superior educational system and pioneering tech/gaming scene and combine it with our dynamic global network of innovators, educators, entrepreneurs, and investors. As a member of the Global Acceleration Network xEdu provides the access to the network of 120+ cities on six continents plus hundreds of perks and deals for young companies.  

Check all the opportunities and apply now. The application window will be open for one month and will close on 31 December. Make sure you don't miss out! 

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3DBear raises over €1 million in seed funding

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3DBear raises over €1 million in seed funding

xEdu acceleration program graduate, Finnish edtech company 3DBear has raised over one million euros with US VC-backed financing. This is an unprecedented case for the Finnish edtech industry so far.

Investors are New York-based Rethink Education VC, a publicly listed media and publishing company Keski-Pohjanmaan Kirjapaino, chairman of the Board of Directors of Basware Hannu Vaajoensuu through his investment company, angel investor Tero Lehtonen and an edtech investor and founder Mitch Weisburgh. From current investors, Spinverse GroupGlyn EggarKaisa Olkkonen and Veli-Pekka Saarnivaara made additional investments.

"Our start in the US and this investment round would not have happened without the brilliance of xEdu and the personal effort of its CEO Antti Korhonen," — says Kristo Lehtonen, CEO of 3DBear. "The funding enables the scale-up of our R&D and implementation of our internationalization strategy.

Former Prime Minister of Finland and former Member of the Executive Board of Nokia, Mr. Esko Aho has started as an Advisor for 3DBear. He will help in expanding business abroad.

We invested in 3DBear because we recognized the demand for its product, the strength of the team and their execution ability”, says Vesa Pihlajamaa, CEO of Keski-Pohjanmaan Kirjapaino Oyj.

3DBear participated in xEdu Fall'16 acceleration program. The startup has also been co-developing its products in schools around Finland and US, as well as in KYKY-process by the city of Espoo, Finland and in national innovation initiatives funded by the Finnish National Agency for Education.
 

Kristo Lehtonen, CEO of 3DBear, will be sharing their startup story tomorrow, 30 November at XcitEd side-event of Slush 2017.  You can see him on stage at 17:45.

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These 4 companies are educating the next responsible generation

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These 4 companies are educating the next responsible generation

Climate change is a complex, global problem that affects all corners of the world. The UN Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), NASA and the World Bank Group have all voiced concerns about the prompt increase in global temperature, rising sea levels, and rapidly growing carbon dioxide emissions. Climate change is undoubtedly shaping our planet, and causing serious social and environmental problems. 
 
It is the task of every generation to invest time and effort in creating a healthier planet, and the responsibility of companies to include climate change prevention at the core of their agenda. However, as more innovative solutions are required, we turn to those, who innovate to exist: startups. 

Education is key in solving climate change

Startups currently offer innumerable niche innovations for solving existing climate change problems, but the most comprehensive way to prevent climate change seems to be establishing a more widespread understanding of the phenomenon. Thus, the most effective way to tackle the problem is to take expertise to the ultimate source of development – education. 
 
Combining the innovative nature of startups and the vital role of education could thus be the recipe we’re desperately looking for. These four forward-looking solutions were born out of the understanding that in the long run education is key because instead of attempting to mitigate the consequences of climate change, they concentrate on changing the initial behaviour contributing to those consequences.  

EduCycle — gamified climate education

Neste, a Finnish renewables company, is responding to this realization with EduCycle, an environmental learning game. EduCycle teaches children about the daily choices with which climate change can be prevented. The game utilizes AR technology to depict the consequences of the players’ decisions on the environment. The goal is to reach social and environmental standards set in the Paris Climate Agreement. 

Customised sustainability challenges from Ducky 

Norwegian Ducky is a mobile responsive, web-based application that utilizes positive incentives to encourage people to take more climate-friendly actions in their everyday lives. Ducky offers different service packages for companies, offices and classrooms, which are customized to challenge each audience in a suitable manner. 

A sustainability algorithm by EcoMate

Ecomate, an environmental consultancy startup, has also taken the educational approach towards companies. EcoMate is creating an algorithm to help small EU-based companies get on board with sustainability, grow their business and generate social and environmental impact. 

Envirate – and become a watchdog for the environment

Acknowledging that the prevention of climate change requires new, easily accessible and effective solutions, Envirate has created a channel through which anyone on the planet can contribute to change. Envirate is a  smartphone app that allows anybody, anytime and anywhere give ratings on the environment around them. Becoming a watchdog for the state of our planet, they say, will generate positive change. 

To learn more about these startups and their drive for change, visit Slush 2017. 
To play EduCycle, visit booth 6c.9. Also, don't miss the XcitED keynote on Educating the next responsible generation in Room 101. 15:00 - 15:10, on 30 November.

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The list of edtech startups to demo at XcitED '17

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The list of edtech startups to demo at XcitED '17

XcitED is coming the next week already, can you believe it? The top-notch program is now live and it includes inspiring key-notes, fireside chats and startup stories. 50 edtech startups from 11 countries will be showcasing their solutions in the demo area. Without further ado, let us introduce you these top-class companies:

XcitED Event + EdTech Award Pass
 

€95

XcitED Event, EdTech Award + 2nd Day of Slush Pass. 

€395

Got the Slush pass? Join XcitED for free by adding your name to the list.

Free

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Watch XcitED Live with Telia Digitalist TV

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Watch XcitED Live with Telia Digitalist TV

Can’t attend the most exciting edtech event of the year? 
No worries, you can follow the action online! Thanks to Telia, with Digitalist TV you won't miss a moment from XcitED. Watch the whole program live or on-demand from your office, home, wherever you are. 

More than 50 edtech startups from 11 countries will be showcasing their solutions in the demo area. If you want to scan all the latest trends in education technology, look for collaborations or simply get inspired — make sure to get your pass. You can also register for free if you have the Slush pass. See you soon, either online or physically, at XcitED.

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Nordic Edtech Award's full Jury is announced

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Nordic Edtech Award's full Jury is announced

The full jury for the first Nordic Edtech Award has been announced. The respected representatives of each Nordic country will select the best among the five finalists that will pitch on the XcitED stage on 30 November.

"We, at the Nordic Edtech Alliance, are honoured and #XcitED to have such luminaries sitting on our jury panel. It is wonderful to combine insights from every Nordic country in such a heavy-weight line-up! To get the feedback from this jury is already a win for the finalists," — said Olli Vallo, co-founder of Kokoa Agency and the host of the Nordic Edtech Award.

Without further ado, please, meet the Nordic Edtech Award Jurors:

Marie Wall

Deputy Director Startups, Ministry of Innovation and Enterprise, Gov of Sweden

Salóme Guðmundsdóttir

CEO of Icelandic Startups

David Helgason

Founder of Unity Technologies

 

Johan Brand

Founder of Kahoot!

Linda Liukas

Creator of Hello Ruby

The jury will select the best Nordic educational technology startup which reflects the Nordic values. The winner will get the place in xEdu Spring 2018 Program and 10 000 € investment. The Nordic EdTech Award will be closing the XcitED track at Slush 2017. Make sure to get your XcitED pass before they run out of stock.

XcitED Event + EdTech Award Pass
 

€95

XcitED Event, EdTech Award + 2nd Day of Slush Pass. 

€395

Got the Slush pass? Join XcitED for free by adding your name to the list.

Free

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Nordic Edtech Award finalists announced

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Nordic Edtech Award finalists announced

The Nordic Edtech Alliance presents five finalists for The Nordic Edtech Award to be held at the XcitEd event at Slush, Helsinki the 30th of November. The finalists represent the Nordic Edtech core values: Equality, Democracy, Quality, Motivational Learning and Efficiency.

Meet the The Finalists:

Lexplore, Sweden

Service for discovering dyslexia in time.

 

Edtech Foundry/Differ, Norway

Messaging app that creates active learning communities so students can collaborate and help each other.

 

Mightifier, Finland

Mightifier helps kids to master their social and emotional skills by positive peer feedback. 
xEdu Spring'16 program alumni.

 

Kara Connect, Iceland

Kara connects special education and teachers to students that need special one-to-one help and gives access to the right help through on-line therapy.

 

EduLab/Matematikfessor, Denmark

Mathematics and adaptivity

These top-class edtech startups will be pitching on the XcitED stage on 30 November.  The winner will get the place in xEdu Spring 2018 Program and 10 000 € investment. The Nordic EdTech Award will be closing the XcitED track at Slush 2017. Make sure to get your XcitED pass before they run out of stock.

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A CEO at 8 Years Old?

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A CEO at 8 Years Old?

Newsflash!
8-year old CEO starts a tea business.
11-year old boy with a bow tie business which he started at 9.
15-year old boy sold an app to Yahoo for USD 30m.

We are fascinated by powerful, inspiring stories like these.

So the question is ‘Should children or teens be introduced to Entrepreneurship and financial Ed at primary and secondary school?’ Would they grow up with the right values? Would they end up becoming materialistic? And do they have time for their studies?

Not teaching this does not ensure that adults are automatically not materialistic nor do they all by default have all the right values when they become adults either.

I hear so many stories that in most schools children get scolded and punished for selling cookies, erasers, crystal bracelets etc in school. They got into a lot of trouble with their teachers, and principals. Just imagine the impression this makes on these children and the friends around them.

When children or teens have businesses, let’s not focus on the idea that it’s all about money. Focus on the fact That they are making things happen.

The danger is that the message children get at that age is that doing business is wrong. It is a bad thing. That stays with them till adulthood.

Wait! Isn’t going to school to prep the kids for their careers in the future? Most are going to be working in a...wait for it...a business!!

Aren’t studies to prep children to work in businesses or run businesses, their own or other people’s? Where is the connection right now between what they learn in school and  that world they are stepping out into?

When children or teens have businesses, let’s not focus on the idea that it’s all about money. Focus on the fact That they are making things happen. They are applying whatever knowledge they have and learning what they don’t have. They are making their knowledge practical.
That their skills have value.

Education has to be practical, not academic for the children and teen to work on theoretical stuff just for the sake of educating the children. The question is not if we should teach this but how do we make sure entrepreneurship becomes part of the school curriculum.

Join us at XcitED to find out how to build an education ecosystem like this. Join us and meet our little 8-year old CEO. Her hashtag is #toothlessceo.

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Anne Tham
Group CEO and Founder
Sri Emas International School

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xEdu accelerator signs MoU with GEMS Singapore

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xEdu accelerator signs MoU with GEMS Singapore

Finnish education startup accelerator xEdu signed a memorandum of understanding with the leading IB International School based in Singapore — GEMS World Academy.

This partnership brings mutual benefits for the companies, teachers and students. GEMS World Academy is getting the access to the latest education technology with the Finnish quality stamp. And the top-class edtech companies accelerated by xEdu now have the chance to test and co-create their solutions with the educators and students of GEMS campus in Singapore.

"We are very happy to continue building our collaboration with GEMS World Academy. Their feedback from using our startups' solutions that fit GEMS’ curriculum will add value and open new doors for xEdu portfolio companies," — said Antti Korhonen, CEO of xEdu.

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