VRelief: Mitigating anxiety and pain at the Pediatric Emergency Room


Virtual reality application for soothing children’s pain and optimizing their comfort during a painful procedure


Status: First prototype released



  • This project is the result of a collaboration between emergency physician paediatrician at HUG, nurse hypnotherapist at HUG, MMEF Lab and TOP Lab. The aim is to reduce children’s pain and stress during a painful procedure at the emergencies.
  • The project has been setup based on guidelines and feedback from paediatric doctors, nurses, pain specialist and game developer expert.
  • The application is targeted for children from 4 to 10 years old. A scenario has been defined to keep children distracted throughout the painful procedure and limit their movements.
  • A first prototype has been implemented and tested during the HUG hackathon as part of the Open Geneva Festival 2019. Kids, parents and medical staff participated to generate the scenario. The prototype has then been refined based on further discussions with the experts.
  • The story, the environment, the characters and the interaction system have been implemented according to the defined scenario. Three environments (2 bedrooms and 1 outdoor space) have been designed.
  • For prototyping needs, the application has been developed using HTC Vive VR headset and a computer. However, as the scene was created using low poly models, the application will be capable to run on an affordable standalone VR headset.

This project won a “Coup de Coeur” prize during the HUG Hackathon 2019. The piloting of experimentation at the hospital will take place in September 2019.