For Kids: Ditto, to Distract the Pain Away
The ‘Ditto’ is a new medical tool designed to distract young burn victims from the painful and often arduous task of changing their dressings. Cleverly disguised as a video game, the therapy aid is designed for use with 3-8 year olds. Creator Sam Bucolo, Associate Professor of Queensland University of Technology, designed the device to engage children from the get-go:
“It was important that the product took only seconds to engage the child and it was also important that the distraction lasted 20 minutes, about the length of time it usually takes a nurse to replace burns bandaging,” Professor Bucolo said.
‘Ditto’ relies on multi-modal interaction to completely immerse little ones in the virtual reality-style game.
The whole form of the toy is the interface. It has a touch screen and vibrating handles. The child holds the circular Ditto device and tilts it to navigate through the virtual world, rather than using a keyboard or separate game controller. Children can choose a character who accompanies them through the games, ‘find and touch’ stories and sing-along movies.
This type of technology may also be applicable to a wide range of uncomfortable medical procedures like vaccinations, medical testing and physiotherapy.