Anyone who has ever been admitted to the hospital knows the pain, now imagine the pain endured by the burn victims, it is actually a  traumatizing experience.

Now, in order to reduce some amount of pain suffered by the burn victims Frog has collaborated with Stanford Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery resident Dr Brian Pridgen to develop VR Care. It is a new open source VR headset, designed for hospitals with built in apps to distract the burn patients from their routine procedures.

cardboard headset

Dr Pridgen says that being burnt in itself is a state of immense misery now imagine that pain spread all over your body in legs and arms and chest. During that extensive pain, the doctors have to scrub off the burned skin and clean the debris for starting further treatment.

a new open source vr headset

Clinicians do have other tools like drugs to distract and reduce the pain. But the drugs come with their own side effects. Studies have shown that giving a patient something else to think about reduces the pain and discomfort to a certain level and VR has shown to be promising on this end.

current headset design

But as the VR headsets are bulky and require more wires and are not waterproof, they are not optimal for hospital settings. Burn victims can easily catch infection so anything that comes in contact needs to sterile and disposable. With someone going through pain, it would be inconvenient to stick their heads into the headset. Therefore, Frog wanted to design something that meets all the criteria and cost just $10.

distraction device for burn patients in pain

So, the team began to design the prototype with jigsaw-style foam tiles. Since they assemble in 3-D puzzle pieces by default, Frog was able to cut the tile with CNC machine in order to build a test headset that was user-friendly. For the screen, the system would use patient or hospital’s smartphone. This kind of foam headset could arrive in a sterile bag and be tossed after every use.

The phone can be held to the headset with the help of thick rubber bands. It is by far one of the most comfortable cardboard headsets to be made in $10.  Charles Yust, principal design technologist at Frog says, the headset is a proof of inclusive design. Though made for patients with special needs the company might have created an inexpensive headset that is more comfortable for everyone.

vr headset design

As the headset is made to soothe the burn victims, the software installed has more than 60 video games for which you don’t need to use your hands. You are just required to tilt your head up and down left and right for activating the movements. Frog built two minimal graphic simulations one where you steer a ship through the cosmos to various planets, picking up passengers and in other dodge your way through the caves.

vr headset design view

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The game is never ending allowing you to play as long as you need to distract yourselves from the thought pain. The sound in the backdrop of the games is similar to what you would hear while getting a massage or in meditation.
The art and audio of simulation are designed in a way that it will actually pull you into a meditative space. The team is working on making the headsets available soon. Dr Pridgen as of now has been testing the headset with other software in the pilot study with burn unit patients and hospital staff. The response so far has been positive with great feedback from patients and doctors.  

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