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VR innovation making an impact in national awards

A patient tries out the VR headset
16 November 2022

Immersive virtual reality climbing and archery games which help children with upper limb impairment and injuries complete their rehabilitation exercises have seen their developers shortlisted at this month’s HETT Unexpected Innovation Awards.

The team at Impact VR and Sheffield Hallam University worked with staff and patients at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust to develop the Luna’s Light system.

They will find out on Wednesday, 23 November whether they’ve lifted the award in the Digital Service for Children and Young People category.

The innovative project aimed to develop immersive VR scenarios which would help children aged 7+ achieve the required limb movements advised by paediatric physiotherapists and occupational therapists more successfully and with relatively less pain.

The games, which require the user to reach behind their back to grab arrows, or reach upwards to climb a castle wall, are designed to help children complete their vital recovery exercises.

During a clinical trial of the system children reported that, compared to their usual rehabilitation experiences, they found movement easier and less painful using the VR. Children and young people showed a greater range in movement during their exercises.  And they found their rehabilitation exercises more enjoyable! The clinical trial was showcased on BBC Click.

The team then developed the upper limb VR rehabilitation system for use in patients’ homes, which offers greater accessibility, delivery and early rehabilitation.

Ivan Phelan, Director of the Impact VR Lab at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “The team at Impact VR and Sheffield Hallam University are delighted to have this work selected as a finalist for the Digital Service for Children and Young People award. It’s only by working closely with staff and patients at Sheffield Children’s that innovative solutions like this are made possible.”

Professor Paul Dimitri, Professor of Child Health at Sheffield Children’s, said: “Virtual reality is producing outstanding results as a support to clinical therapies across different branches of medicine, with potential to be just as effective in many more areas in the future. We look forward to continuing to be part of this ground-breaking work.”

The HETT Unexpected Innovation Awards celebrate the very best in experimental design, collaboration, and leadership in digital healthcare. For more information visit the HETT Awards website.

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