This installation by Applied Global Technologies (AGT) was part of a larger project for Atlanta-based Wellstar Health System, in partnership with Spatial Inc. and HealthTunes, to install 16 Wellness Rooms across Wellstar’s local-area hospitals and health parks with funding of $1.5M from Catalyst by Wellstar. The partnership focused on designing private spaces that featured immersive sound environments to provide a respite for frontline healthcare workers in the hospital setting, with the purpose of helping reduce the stress and anxiety brought on by the overwhelming COVID-19 health crisis.
Working with HealthTunes to develop custom soundscapes for its Wellness Room projects, the partners selected Spatial to manage and deploy the fully immersive experiences because of its ease of use to create 360-degree soundscapes and then deploy with physics-based tuning to easily fit any room’s dimensions, and for its hardware-agnostic capability to work with an integrator’s preference on equipment.
The installation at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Ga., included a mix of 32 speakers and subwoofers across a primary shared wellness room and three private wellness rooms to provide hospital employees with various soothing AI-driven, non-looping environmental soundscapes they could choose from via a touchscreen interface to help them escape, relax, destress and even process difficult experiences such as losing a patient.
Wellstar contracted AGT to help implement the wellness rooms — in parallel with conversation to be the first hospital group to design and develop the wellness rooms with Spatial. AGT specializes in hospital projects as part of its expertise in managing large-scale contracts for commercial, government and education clients nationwide.
Spatial’s immersive audio platform combined with HealthTunes’ evidence-based ‘MusicMedicine’ allows nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals to choose a soundscape. This could be a forest or a deep sea dive with singing whales, where they feel like they are transported away from the pressure of the hospital. The soundscapes are enhanced with the option of Auditory Beat Stimulation, a research-based approach that uses low-frequency pulses to entrain relaxed brain states and relax the parasympathetic nervous system.
The Need for Immersive Soundscapes
Studies show that physically moving away from a hectic environment, even for just a few minutes, helps to regulate our emotional wellness while reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. Wellstar adds that it is the first health system to use such immersive AI-driven audio technology in a clinical setting.
The installation provided health workers access to wellness rooms where, via a touchscreen interface, they can select from numerous peaceful and calming realistic 360-degree soundscapes to transform the room and feel transported as they aim to step away from stressful work situations.
Rather than using traditional forms of audio delivery, such as headphones or a surround sound system, Wellstar selected Spatial because it has previously been difficult, if not impossible, to imbue healing environments with sound that fully envelops a space and its inhabitants. But with the launch of Spatial’s fully immersive audio platform, it is now possible to put science-backed research at the service of healing by using soundscapes for anxiety reduction, palliative care and recovery.
Enhancing Immersive Soundscape Experiences
Spatial technology enables these objectives via:
- Precision: For sound and music therapy to be most effective, it must be able to be targeted with the precision of a drug.
- Standardization: Doctors require clear protocols and patients expect predictable outcomes.
- Personalization: Spatial soundscapes, enhanced with sensors and linked to other devices in the space, enable experiences that adapt to evolving needs.
The Wellstar Kennestone Hospital project required the installation of in-wall invisible speakers by Sonance and cabling to amps, as well as complex networking configuration achieved through cross-functional collaboration between Wellstar, AGT and heavy involvement from the Spatial team to complete across a shared wellness room and three private wellness rooms included in the space.
The room specifications with speakers and subs installs are as follows:
- One Main Wellness Room (18 feet 10 inches x 17 feet 8 inches): 14 speakers/subs (9 invisible wall speakers, 4 ceiling/pendant speakers 1 subwoofer)
- Three Private Rooms (7 feet 6 inches x 11 feet 4 inches): 6 speakers/subs each (4 invisible wall speakers, 1 ceiling/pendant, 1 subwoofer)
- *All in-wall speakers placed 20- and 24-inches from floor to edge of IS6T speaker, with devices installed upside down (tweeter close to the floor)
Since opening this and similar spaces installed by AGT across their hospitals, hundreds of team members have benefited from the Wellness Room to manage stress and practice workplace self-care.
Similar installations leveraging Spatial’s immersive audio technology may be utilized in patient-facing settings in the future, based on positive feedback from team members.
- Sonance IS6T Invisible Series Speaker
- Sonance pendant speakers
- Sonance Impact i10 subwoofers
- M1 Mac Mini running Spatial with custom soundscapes by HealthTunes
- Apple iPad used for touchscreen interface