RISE UP/GEAR UP
For more than 15 years, burn patients at Harborview Medical Center have donned a head-mounted display to play a virtual-reality game while undergoing painful dressing changes and other therapies. The computer-driven device immerses the patients in an alternate reality, “SnowWorld,” where they can swoop through an icy canyon and pitch snowballs at snowmen, penguins and igloos.
The experience is so engaging that patients report it significantly reduces their pain and makes procedures more tolerable. Now UW researchers want to better understand why.