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VR Analgesic Gallery

VR eases suffering through a winter landscape—you both travel through an outdoor gallery of your favorite images and memories.

Photo of Carrie Roy
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

This experience is designed for terminally ill patients and their loved ones–near and far. Loved ones unable to visit a terminally ill friend or family member could visit them in Virtual Reality and experience this analgesic memory gallery together. Access could be granted through a network of providers offering access to this service.

Virtual reality can help ease suffering—burn victims comforted by cold, wintry scenes.

Image title

 By this logic, artists and programmers could design a suite of immersive scenes (anxiety—the gentle waves of the ocean lapping the rocky shore; 

waves hitting shore

chills-a cozy cabin with a crackling fire; fever–walking over a frozen lake by snow-covered woods;  etc.) that populate with a personalized gallery of selected images and audio 

gallery concept (interior)

(see article for examples of research in this growing field).

Together, a person suffering in their final days and their loved one can virtually traverse the analgesic environment and encounter favorite images, songs, and videos—sparking reflection, conversation and memories.  The project is focused on easing suffering and helping stimulate important moments of connection between the suffering individual and their loved ones.  Loved ones unable to physically travel to the terminally ill friend or family member could join them through VR technology–a service ideally provided through a local provider but part of a worldwide network.  The VR analgesic gallery is both a virtual escape and something deeply personal.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Working with a programmer to design an immersive scene for the Oculus Rift would be a good starting point. Also, I live near the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora Colorado, so there could potentially be many partners (main hospital, veterans, children's hosp, etc.) for testing this concept.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

familiarity with logistics/implementing a service across a system of providers programmers/VR specialists

Tell us about your work experience:

I was a post-doc in a university lab focused on VR and healthcare (Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery: Living Environments Lab). My training is in ethnography.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual


Join the conversation:

Photo of Joanna Spoth

Hi Carrie! I wanted to quickly pass along some feedback we recently received from our challenge sponsors:
"We're excited about the ease of this idea to be tested on a small scale. It seems like a natural improvement on what currently exists in the hospital environment."

Looking forward to seeing your idea continue to evolve in this last week of our Refinement phase!

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