USAA's empathy lab uses latest tech to help veterans with PTSD

Exhibit looks, feels like a smart home

SAN ANTONIO – As part of GMSA at 9’s new series “Tech SA,” we are taking a look inside USAA 's new exhibit called their "Empathy Lab."

USAA created the space to showcase how a connected house can improve the quality of lives of their members. 

The showcase looks like a smart home, and one section of it is is created specifically for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

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"Imagine you are coming home from deployment and you are sitting down to watch a family friendly film. There is a trailer. A war movie and you have a wearable device that is connected to your home. The connected device is starting to feel your duress. So the home has adjusted because it felt the duress," Mitzi Ruiz, strategic innovation director said. 

The exhibit also has a bathroom display that is wheelchair-accessible and a smart mirror where it shows you the calendar, time, traffic and weather. 

Chief innovation officer at USAA Zack Gipson said it comes from the heart of their employees. 

"It was worked through a Hackathon which is about a 24-hour period where employees literally took that idea and created much of the technology you just saw on the lab," Gipson said. 

The empathy lab is open to the public and uses the latest technology. 

"Over time as we work on new and emerging spaces. This space will continue to update and refresh with the newest in technology in terms of what we are doing to help serve members," Gipson said.