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July 13, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Needle fear addressed, thanks to virtual reality

Smileyscope, which was designed specifically for the healthcare sector, is suitable for children as young as three years old.

Have a child who is afraid of needles? Virtual reality (VR) is coming to the rescue!

According to a recent article in Miami Inno, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital has employed a VR headset called the Smileyscope to reduce anxiety in pediatric patients. The device, currently used in the hospital’s emergency department, makes it possible for pediatric patients to immerse themselves in virtual experiences as a distraction from uncomfortable needle procedures.

Smileyscope stands out from other VR and mixed-reality headsets because it was designed specifically for the healthcare industry, said David Seo, Senior Vice President and Chief Information and Digital Officer for Nicklaus Children’s Health System. Children as young as three or four years old can wear the headset to follow meditation and breathing exercises before a needle stick.

One of the most requested VR experiences is an underwater adventure that can correspond with the steps of a medical procedure and help mask the source of pain from injections.

The application was developed by Smileyscope Holding Inc., a global pioneer in virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) digital therapeutics. According to its website, the Australia-headquartered company merges evidence-based medicine with state-of-the-art technology, creating ground-breaking digital treatments that help patients manage pain, anxiety, and mental health.

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