Kim Renard Nazel might have once been known as hip-hop artist Arabian Prince, a founding member of the West Coast rap group N.W.A., but today he wants to be known as an innovative entrepreneur who is creating the first metaverse dedicated to patient care.
In MdDao, Nazel’s digital world, patients will be able to interact with doctors, get prescriptions and get info on health care in ways considered easier, quicker and cheaper than in real life.
N.W.A., which was popular in the late 1980s, was considered one of the most influential groups in the history of hip-hop music. Members included Arabian Prince, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, DJ Yella and MC Ren.
Nazel intends to use the metaverse to develop a “photo-realistic, digital twin” of the healthcare system in the United States. In the digital world created, Nazel wants patients to communicate with physicians and other health-care practitioners to receive care in a timely and cost-effective fashion.
“I’m doing this to give connected services,” Nazel told MarketWatch. “There’s a lot of places — people in rural communities, people in the inner cities — that don’t have health care, that don’t have connectivity. But one thing pretty much everybody has is a phone. If we can make it so that you can interact and get health care directly from your smartphone — that’s kinda where we’re going with this.”
There’s been investor interest in using the metaverse for health-care needs. South Korea-based Found Investment Co. contends that the Metaverse could become a “new frontier” in health care since augmented and virtual reality are already being used in medical school settings.
Nazel’s infatuation with technology began when he was growing up in Compton, California. As a teenager, he taught himself to code and use computers–a skill that came in handy when he began producing electronic music. While recording as Arabian Prince with NWA, Nazel began working in visual effects. Today, Nazel is utilizing Nvidia Corp’s 3-D platform, Omniverse as well as Epic Game Inc. Unreal Engine to create the first metaverse focused on patient care.
“We have been speaking with Arabian Prince about his project and their plans to use Omniverse for building their virtual world. It’s not a partnership as of now, it’s first about working together,” Richard Kerris, vice president of Nvidia’s Omniverse Platform Development told Marketwatch. “We’re excited about his project.”
While MdDao is currently in infant stages of development, Nazel believes it will take eight months to a year to launch the platform. With MdDao, Nazel invisions health-care companies using the digital world to reach patients. In addition to speaking with real physicians, patients will have the option of speaking with a digital avatar that will record essential information to share with health-care physicians.
“We didn’t want to do something that looks like the other metaverses, that looks very cartoony,” Prince told MarketWatch. “And we knew with health care, you have to be serious about it. You can’t have somebody that looks like Luigi from Mario Brothers talking to you as a doctor.”
The approach of celebrities branching into the metaverse is not a new one.
Artists such as Snoop Dogg and Method Man are using the digital world to share entertainment and gaming experiences. Investors like Snoop Dogg, Method Man and Nazel are all interested in investing in the metaverse.
Funding for MdDao will be derived through paid memberships, Prince said. A tiered membership plan includes $1,500 to $3,000 for professionals while members of the health and wellness community will pay $750 to $1,500. Patients are expected to pay $300 to $750. Nazel’s pricing will allow all members to vote on what is present in the digital world with tokens rewarding members for exemplary behavior.
“[Prince] has a great vision since most people in the U.S. would like to see healthcare reimagined,” Nick Casares told Marketwatch of the former N.W.A. member. Casares is head of product at PolyientX, a company that provides tools to create rewards for NFT communities. “Although I would skeptically say it’s a 10-to-15-year vision, I wouldn’t discount it at this stage.”