A virtual reality immersion designed especially for children
Healthy Mind’s therapeutic virtual reality headsets combine several principles to reduce patients’ pain and anxiety. Our medical solution transports the user into a natural landscape among the different themes offered in our library. Today, we present a new environment that is specifically aimed at children: the Magic Archipelago. Why did we create this immersion for the little ones and what are the differences with the other experiences? We’ll tell you all about it.
1. The beginnings of the project
The environments developed by Healthy Mind have the same objective: to bring a feeling of relaxation and calm to its users. To this end, we work with a medical team of anaesthetists and hypnotherapists to design relaxing therapeutic walks in a realistic landscape.
The principles of sophrology and hypnosis applied in our virtual reality software allow patients, carers or even company employees to leave their anxiety behind and fully immerse themselves in a world designed for escape.
Although three-dimensional (3D) visuals work for most of the younger audience, paediatric departments have told us that they would like to have a dedicated fairy-tale environment for children, especially under 10s, to engage them more.
So how do we keep the little ones alert and entertained more effectively? To best meet the expectations of children, we decided to create an environment for them.
2. The creation of the paediatric environment
For this new paediatric environment, the design of the virtual reality software followed the same chronology as our previous immersions:
- establishment of a set of specifications;
- collaboration with our medical team to script the immersion;
- modelling of the environment;
- translation of the guidance into different languages and integration;
- testing the software with a target audience.
While our approach has not changed, our approach to support and design has been adapted to this young audience.
A more enchanting design to captivate the little ones
From the feedback we received from our clients, it was clear that the realistic design of our environments did not always appeal to the youngest. It was therefore necessary to design a more attractive and childlike visual. To achieve this, we turned to another modelling technique for this software: stylized low poly.
This approach consists of using a reduced number of polygons to design the illustrations. As a result, the graphic result appears more simplified and less detailed. Video games often use this technique to reduce modelling time, as low poly requires lower performance.
As a result, the aesthetic rendering has moved away from realism to a more colourful, minimalist look that evokes an enchanting landscape.
Like the previous animations, the magic archipelago uses the principle of teleportation rather than displacement in order to avoid a side effect of virtual reality, the phenomenon of cyber kinetosis.
In this new environment, children will discover three islands: Aki, Kouyou and Gaïa. To arouse their curiosity and capture their attention, animals and visual stimuli will be more present than in previous immersions.
A support format adapted to children
The therapeutic journey of the previous Healthy Mind environments is based on relaxation and sophrology. As a result, the verbal accompaniment often leaves room for silence so that the user can escape visually. However, this approach works less effectively with young patients, so we had to adapt our speech.
In this new immersion, the flow of words is denser in order to engage the child more often and to keep his attention. The story was conceived as a tale with mysteries to solve and a treasure to discover. The breathing exercises are still present, even if their forms appear more disguised. The soundscape is still based on the principles of music therapy with the aim of relaxing the young patients.
A small parrot, Captain Cool, follows the child’s progress from the first point in the environment to the last. This faithful sidekick’s mission is to offer words of encouragement along the way.
A version for adults
Although the magical archipelago has been modelled for children, adults will also be able to enjoy the immersion. In this version, the visuals remain the same, but the texts are less frequent and the breathing exercises are increased. The emphasis is on relaxation and less on distraction. This brings the experience closer to that offered in other Healthy Mind environments.
In addition, you will find the same customisation features in the Magic Archipelago as in the previous environments:
- communicating with the patient at any time;
- sending additional distractions;
- adjustable duration;
- activation of the hypnotic output, regardless of the progress in the story.
3. The development and official release of the magical archipelago
As with the development of the other Healthy Mind themes, it took six months to develop the Magic Archipelago. At SantExpo 2022, we were able to present this experience to visitors and receive instructive feedback, especially regarding the accuracy of the Chinese translation.
Healthy Mind also works closely with a pharmaceutical company. This relationship has enabled the software to be made available to certain hospitals as a preview for a clinical study. The marketing and updates of our solution will be carried out during the month of September 2022.
Among the new features we are preparing for the end of the year, you will soon be able to discover an environment designed for escape at work: a meditative lake. In addition to this therapeutic walk, we will also offer in our updates realistic images of places created from 360° videos. This option will offer another possibility for patients who are not interested in 3D or simply another type of content for long interventions.
You will find all the information on our equipment rental or purchase proposal on the page dedicated to our solution. Do not hesitate to contact our team if you have any questions or if you would like to test the device during a demonstration.