Virtual Reality to Decrease Children’s Fear of Injections
What if it were possible to reduce patients’ panic about needles during blood draws or medical treatments?
We have good news for those who identify with this fear, since the Public University of Navarra (UPN) has developed a Virtual Reality experience with the support of Innoarea Projects, to distract patients while they are undergoing surgery. This application is mainly focused on the youngest in situations such as blood extraction or injection of vaccines and combines the use of new technology with entertainment for this public profile.
Virtual Reality Application
For the development of this project, in the first place, researchers from the Public University of Navarra detected that there is a large number of children who suffer when they have to face medical interventions with needles. Then they thought of Virtual Reality as a tool to help children not have a hard time in situations like these. Thus, researchers from this academic institution contacted Innoarea Projects proposing to design a Virtual Reality experience.
The main objective of the application is that children (from 2 to 15 years old) are immersed in a virtual world full of color and with different stages where they can have fun. The solution consists of a series of mini-games in which the user has to complete puzzles and interact with a series of animals, allowing children to be entertained and not be altered by the presence of needles or doctors around them.
In the Virtual Reality experience we find four different environments related to the seasons of the year and each one of them proposes an activity so that the youngest children can entertain themselves only by moving the hand that the nurse is not using through a Virtual Reality command. The first mini-game consists of a kind of constellation and the user has to join the different stars to see the complete figure. Then the child goes on to the next level, where he has to try to assemble piece by piece a monument that at first is completely demolished. After this he has to try to join a small puzzle whose pieces are floating in the air and, finally, the child passes to the last mini-game in which he has to interact with animals.
Thanks to this pilot project and the collaboration of the researchers, it has been possible to analyse how Virtual Reality technology is playing an increasingly important role in the field of health.