LittleSeed Revolutionizes Pediatrics with Virtual Reality

Anxiety is entirely natural when we think of going into a hospital. The environment is strange and frightening. Most people enter hospitals under negative circumstances. There are needles, beeping machines, and interruptions around the clock. Any sense of control is completely elusive.

And there may be nowhere in a hospital that this reality smacks us in the face more than in the halls and rooms of pediatric floors.

LittleSeed, a spinout of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, is applying evidence-based, cutting-edge technology to make hospital experiences better for patients, thereby improving clinical outcomes.

LittleSeed uses augmented (virtual) reality and a comprehensive spectrum of mixed media tools to help make patients and families become better and well.

“We are at the merger of healthcare, technology, and creative,” said Jeff Penka, CEO of LittleSeed. “It’s clinically driven and evidenced-based fun that helps patients heal.

A Clinically Proven Family of Immersive Games and Toys Revolutionizes the Patient Experience

“We have designed a voyager journey called Voxel Bay,” Penka said. “The patient gets a trunk at home. In that trunk are things like a headset, characters, an interactive coloring book, and a therapy journal. Mom and dad install the iPhone app and an entire world pops off the page.”

The patient and her parents can “walk around”, explore a lagoon and meet the characters who live in Voxel Bay, making connections at home in a safe place so that the journey to the hospital begins on a positive note. That helps ease anxiety for both parents and child.

When the patient gets to the hospital, clinicians join the journey via a dashboard and iPad. For example, while a child is playing 3D games, gaming mechanics can allow a physician to get optical measurements they need.

Creating a world where children (in virtual reality) use deep-breathing exercises to soar on the backs of fire-breathing dragons or willingly put on a mask because it’s part of a game, gives the caregiver and child a degree of control and makes the treatment and healing process easier for everyone.

Next Steps for LittleSeed

Working with all parts of a hospital, LittleSeed takes a total solution approach that considers the institution, the technical and clinical teams, and the existing infrastructure and processes.

Finalizing licensing agreements with Nationwide Children’s Hospital positions LittleSeed to move forward with productizing Voxel Bay and manufacturing the components, from the virtual reality headset to printed materials and software.

“In technology, healthcare, and creative, our network goes deep and spans the country,” Penka said. “Our goal is to make our solution as simple and as accessible as band-aids.”

Although the firm’s initial focus is on pediatrics—with more than 250 pediatric hospitals and 40,000 clinics nationwide, Penka envisions services in posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTS) and memory management.