This hospital found a way to make giving kids shots easier

Virtual reality in hospital

Photo via Nationwide Children's Hospital (Licensed)

Being scared of needles is understandable. These docs think they can help.

Kids need shots. Kids hate shots. This is the way of the world.

But kids with the blood disorder hemophilia have to endure multiple rounds of needles every week for blood transfusions to prevent serious joint damage, so their anxiety about the procedure is amplified. Now doctors at Nationwide Children’s Hospital have teamed up with in-house “Interactive Architect” Jeremy Patterson to come up with a virtual reality solution to this actual reality problem.

A pilot study with hemophilia experts and Ohio State students lets kids getting their treatments immerse themselves in the VR world of Voxel Bay, “an immersive environment of penguins, pirates and hermit crabs.” But most importantly, they can’t really be fiddling with a controller while a nurse tries to insert an IV, so the game is controlled by the player’s eye and head movements—and even their breath.

“That’s extremely important,” Patterson said in a press release. “Whether it’s getting an infusion, a blood draw or lab work, these patients really can’t use their hands, so there needed to be a different way to control the games.”

So far, the results have been positive.

“I have made lots of games and know what appeals to kids and what doesn’t, but creating something that has actually helped children have a better patient-experience, there is nothing greater than that,” Patterson told Science Daily.

virtual reality
The State of VR: How the HTC Vive is winning the virtual reality war
In consumer technology, the two easiest paths to success are to be either first or best. Take smartwatches, for example: Pebble broke Kickstarter records because it was the first capable wearable in the category. Apple's wearable arrived late, but it's universally considered to be the most powerful smartwatch on the market. Now the Apple Watch has an overwhelming market share, while Pebble does its best to hang on to its early adopters.
From Our VICE Partners

Pure, uncut internet. Straight to your inbox.

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter!