Virtual reality games help patients forget about the bits that hurt
Boffins at the University of Washington’s HITLab have built a virtual snowball fighting game, designed to help recovering burn victims forget the pain of their wounds.
The virtual reality headset kit draws the wearer into the pretend world, leaving the poor, overwhelmed human brain with less resources to worry about the pains of the real world, therefore reducing the hurt for a little while.
It’s a bit like turning up your music really loud so you can’t hear the phone ringing or the doorbell, so everything seems OK.
A variety of other realistic situations are also simulated in the VR headset games, with patients having stitches removed and reporting less pain in general while mucking about in the pretend game worlds, pouring themselves virtual cups of tea to occupy the brain while surgeons pick away at their gaping wounds.
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2007 Tech Trends No. 4: Virtual Reality