Nexum and Inselspital Bern develop VR app "Children's Island

The Nexum agency and Inselspital want to use virtual reality to counter hospital anxiety in children and have developed the "Kinderinsel" app.

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More than half of children facing surgery suffer from anxiety, which in extreme cases can have a noticeable and measurable negative impact on postoperative processing and healing.

The VR app allows children between the ages of 5 and 10, as well as their parents, to prepare for an upcoming operation via their own smartphone and the "Kinderinsel" Cardboard glasses that come with it. In a positive way, it is intended to help reduce fears and uncertainties.

The app relies on both an explorative and a narrative didactic approach and consists of three chapters: an immersive VR story, an interactive operating room, and a 360-degree video tour. Throughout the VR app, children are accompanied by the friendly "Kinderinsel" penguin "Kimi," who appears at various points and explains everything about the upcoming surgery.

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From focus group to VR implementation

Nexum conceived and realized the app over several stages. The various development steps include the elaboration of the didactic approach, the development of the story, the creation of the texts, the creation and design of various 3D animated protagonists (penguin, child, parents, various medical professionals, etc.) as well as the programming and technical implementation using the VR development platform Unreal.

 

Children helped with design

In the run-up to the conception, the agency gathered important insights around the expectations and wishes for the VR app in a focus group workshop with the target group and set about finding out about possible fears in connection with upcoming operations.

 

Accompanied in virtual reality 

The "Kinderinsel" app is primarily aimed at children, but deliberately involves parents in the preparation for surgery as well. A central feature of the app is therefore the mirroring function also developed and implemented by Nexum, which allows parents to follow what their child sees, does and experiences in virtual reality on a second smartphone.

The bilingual app "Kinderinsel" is available for the general population and not only for patients of the Insel Group. The app is now available free of charge for iOS and Android available.

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