Virtual reality experience helps patients undergoing chemotherapy, dialysis

Posted at 4:11 PM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-22 19:18:07-04

BOISE — Students at Boise State's GIMM lab are creating a virtual reality experience for patients undergoing hours of medical treatment, for reasons like chemotherapy or dialysis. The experience transports them out of their hospital room and into various nature-scapes around Idaho.

"You almost feeling like the sun is on your face, and you hear the sound effects of the wind rustling through the winds, and the water rapids trickling, and there's a scene where we have the Ann frank memorial fountains running," said GIMM Lab student Maddie Shoemaker, "It just feels like you're actually there as opposed to sitting or lying in bed watching a movie."

GIMM lab projects go beyond the videoing and the editing. They connect with medical professionals or others who can explain how to make their VR experience most beneficial for the audience they're serving.

"We're a high tech degree, but our emphasis is how does technology and the human being come together, so everything we do has to have a research component in it, whether we're looking at what have experts said about a particular therapeutic approach," said director of GIMM Lab Anthony Ellertson.

Unlike watching a movie, you can choose where you want to go inside the scene, thanks to their unique recording device which features six different cameras. It also means you get real-life bloopers, too.

"So unlike a regular camera that just shoots in front of your, this thing shoots all around you at all points of time, and we found out nothing is going to be hidden in a scene, it's all going to be in the scene no matter what it is, people passing by, people looking in the camera, this and that," said GIMM lab student Jonathan Gaige.

It's still a work in progress, but like all GIMM lab projects, once it's completed, it will be available to the public, and possibly in our local hospitals.

"Whether they're looking to the left or right they're going to feel like they're in this garden and not in a doctors office or in a bed," said Shoemaker.