The Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation has announced it is restarting a 12-year-old research project to explore the effects of virtual reality (VR) technology on pediatric pain and stress management. Building upon substantial prior VR research conducted by Believe In Tomorrow and BreakAway Games which resulted in the creation of an immersive diving experience named Free Dive in 2006. With this as a base, the charity is hoping to improve the management of stress and pain of critically ill pediatric patients.
The new research project will utilize software developed and provided by Cascade Game Foundry, based in Redmond, Washington, which have been used in their Infinite Scuba and Dive with Sylvia VR titles. This project will be initially conducted at the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House at John Hopkins, which is a hospital residential facility that provides accommodation to critically ill children that are receiving treatment at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital.
If the research project is successful, it will be incorporated into all Believe In Tomorrow Pediatric Hospital and Respite facilities as a tool for patients and family members in order to manage stress and pain. By leveraging the immersive power and technology of Oculus Rift head-mounted displays (HMDs), users will be able to take a relaxing dive on a coral reef and explore a vast under-the-sea environment.
“The regulated breathing, the sound of the bubbles, and the captivation and beauty of the coral reef provide all of the elements needed to immerse a user into a calming experience that is starkly different from the medical world where many of these children spend their day,” said Brian Morrison, Founder and CEO of the Believe In Tomorrow Foundation.
The Dive with Sylvia experience that is provided by Cascade Game Foundry is based on a coral reef dive in Belize with legendary oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia Earle. This research project will be part of the The Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation leading work in pediatric respite and hospital housing programs with the goal of reducing the stress faced by critically ill children and their families.
As the The Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation, BreakAway Games and Cascade Game Foundry continue to leverage VR technology for use in pain and stress management, VRFocus will be sure to bring you all the latest.