VR App For Kids Prepares Them For MRIs
A medical physicist developed an app that helps kids prepare for daunting MRI scans
At the King’s College Hospital, medical physicist Jonathan Ashmore has created an app for child patients. In it, kids are immersed in a virtual reality world of Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI. Throughout the app, the technology is explained and kids will be able to experience what it is like to be inside an MRI machine.
This method of preparing kids for the procedure was borne from Ashmore’s experience working with younger patients. MRIs are big, bulky machines and for kids they are just scary machines. In addition, MRIs generate loud tapping sounds while in operation. For kids, including some adults, it is hard to stay still in such a confined space with odd sounds whizzing by constantly.
It is such a stressful procedure that some kids will require a dose of sedatives just for the procedure to be successfully done.
The app, named My MRI at King’s, is now available on the Google Play Store. The content starts out by outlining the entire day for the user. Its a walkthrough beginning at a check-in at the reception. Child-friendly graphics then proceed to explain the different areas of an MRI room. Videos captured by 360-degree video cameras show hospital staff guiding the user through the procedure and the entire process. Near the end, the user will be inside the machine where they can look around.
John Ashmore shot the footage himself, using his own camera which he got as a present. Jerome Di Pietro, Learning Technologist at the hospital co-developed the VR app.
PSFK has previously reported on the potential of VR in the medical field. Immersive first aid training, preparing mothers for childbirth and hospital operations improvement are just some of the ways immersieve technologies are helping the sector move forward.
In a release from King’s College Hospital, the experience of 10-year-old Matthew Down shows that the app gets the job done. According to him, he gained a much clearer idea of the procedure through VR goggles.
“I didn’t know what to expect, even though my dad explained I couldn’t imagine what it would be like. I think that the app is really helpful as it shows you what to expect and it really feels like you are inside the machine”.
To try out the app, check it out at the Play Store here. iOS users, a compatible version is still in the works.