Innovation That Matters

Snowy VR world reduces pain in burn victims

Sport & Fitness

DeepStream VR uses virtual reality gaming to help patients reduce physical pain.

Virtual reality companies are constantly exploring new ways to integrate the tech into different industries, and we are seeing many applications in gaming, retail and tourism. But perhaps one of the most impressive means of applying VR is in the health industry. FirstHand Technology is turning virtual reality platforms into something that can deliver real relief from physical pain.

Deepstream VR is a startup formed by FirstHand’s co-founders Howard Rose and Ari Hollander. The game ‘COOL!’ creates a virtual world designed to ease pain — it aims to distract burn patients from the pain of getting their wounds cleaned or their skin grafted with an immersive first-person game, all set in an icy, snowy atmosphere, with a cute otter as a companion.

MRI brain scans showed a significant reduction in pain related to brain activity while using the game, and participants were also reported to feel less pain. The technology has been employed by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan, helping doctors reduce patient reliance on medication to treat pain.

In a TedMed talk, Rose said it was time to “embrace this technology and use this opportunity for health”.

How else could virtual reality be used to change the way we provide medical care?



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