Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is demonstrating the therapeutic potential of VR to help some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Late last year a video showed kids in the hospital using an Oculus development kit for a moment of recreation amid their stay. The video opened up a lot of eyes to the potential of VR to help with the intense isolation and frustration kids might experience while in the hospital. Now, a new video (embedded above) is a little more forceful in suggesting the technology might help beyond just a few minutes of distraction, with a kid reporting a major change to his perception of pain during and after use of the HTC Vive.
J.J. Bouchard is a certified child life specialist and digital media manager in Michigan who told UploadVR he worked with an organization called GameStart to offer the kids (with parent’s permission) a chance to try VR. Last year kids tried a roller coaster in a Rift development kit and, within the last few weeks, two HTC Vives arrived. Last week the kids tried out creativity experience Tilt Brush and Valve’s wonderful introductory software, The Lab. That’s what you see in the video above.
“Most of it was Tilt Brush, the kids really enjoyed that. I love Tilt Brush because anyone whose got any kind of physical mobility can do that one — you can do it from a wheelchair, you can do it laying down,” Bouchard said. “The kids really just kinda got lost in that world.”
Bouchard said he’s giving feedback to Valve about how the system is working and what could be improved about the software. For example, he pointed out that, while not exactly hard, Vive still isn’t easy and quick enough to setup that a nurse or another medically-trained professional could do it on their own for a child.
It’s still very early days, (PC-powered consumer gadgets have been shipping for less than a month) but Bouchard feels like he’s just scratched the surface of VR’s ability to help. We’ll keep following this and other ways VR is being used to help people in the hospital.