The advances in virtual reality (VR) technology have come on leaps and bounds in recent years. From entertainment to travel experiences, VR as we know it could soon become part of our everyday lives. And now the technology is being used to help children cope with the fear of needles when having vaccine injections.
A new project has been launched in Brazil which uses VR to help children overcome their fear of having essential vaccines administered. Pharmacy chain Hermes Pardini worked with local design studios VZLAB and Lobo to create an immersive world to help relax the child’s muscles, making the process not only more comforting for the patient but easier for the nurse to apply the needle too.
The child wears the VR headset and interacts with an animated story of heroes defending their land against villains while the nurse watches from a separate screen and synchronises with the story to apply the injection.
Luiz Evandro, director at VZLAB and Lobo, explained to the BBC: “What we learned from doing this project is that children mostly fear the needle, more than the pain itself, so, in theory, if one could take ‘the approaching needle away’, the fear itself would also disappear. That ended up happening perfectly.”
Over 100 million children are vaccinated each year, so the technology may soon revolutionise children’s experiences when visiting their GP. Mr Evandro says: “This solution has a lot to grow in terms of development, not only by incorporating interactivity into it, but also by having the possibility of being customisable to specific users, we feel that we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s doable here”.
Medical equipment calibration is incredibly important and should be undertaken regularly. Therefore, the best course of action is to arrange an annual contract with a reliable specialist to look over devices.