XRDC speaker Q&A: Thomas Jon Caruso on the power of VR therapy

Thomas Jon Caruso discusses how medical VR is helping kids at Stanford's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and his upcoming XRDC session.

Over at Stanford, the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital has begun utilizing virtual reality as part of an anxiety therapy program known as "CHARIOT." At XRDC 2018, program director Thomas Jon Caruso (with his colleague Samuel Rodriguez) will be giving a talk about how other VR developers can create software that helps patients in hospitals for both younger and older patients. 

For a quick look at Caruso's talk, we reached out to him for a Q&A on the state of medical VR, which you can now read below! 

Attend XRDC 2018 to learn about AR/VR/MR for games, entertainment, healthcare, enterprise training, education, automotive, and innovative use cases across industries.

Tell us about yourself and your work in VR/AR/MR.

I help direct the CHARIOT Program at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.  The program is quite unique in scope, as we not only integrate VR into different hospital environments, but also design custom software and modify existing hardware to fit the needs of a pediatric hospital.

Without spoiling it too much, tell us what you’ll be talking about at XRDC.

We will be discussing best practices around the integration and design of VR in our pediatric hospital.

What excites you most about AR/VR/MR?

We are excited for the discovery of novel ways to further optimize VR therapy in the hospital.  As software becomes easier to design and hardware becomes more affordable and customize for the hospital environment, the clinical possibilities are endless.

Since VR technology is generally advised to be for older users, how have you best been able to use them with children while keeping their safety in mind? 

Every patient is unique.  We have a dedicated and well-trained team, including amazing Child Life Specialists, that help identify patients who may benefit from VR.  After a patient is identified, the medical professionals interview the patient and family to introduce the concept of VR and its potential risks and benefits.  Only after patient assent and family consent do we proceed, assuming the patient has no contraindications.  

XRDC is the premier conference for augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality innovation, produced by organizers of the Game Developers Conference. Subscribe to regular XRDC updates via emailTwitter and Facebook.

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