Birmingham professor discussses working with Brownies to design Virtual Reality worlds to help sick children

Professor Bob Stone designed the world's first Girlguiding badge for Virtual Reality achievement.

Professor Bob Stone, Director of the University of Birmingham's Human Interface Technologies (HIT) Team, was recently interviewed for BBC 5 Live, discussing his team's recent work with Brownies and Girl Guides to design Virtual Reality worlds to help sick children in hospital.

In his interview with Anna Foster, Professor Stone describes how he and his team invited Brownies and Girl Guides from Salt Ash in Cornwall to use their imaginations to come up with design Virtual Reality worlds for sick children in hospital to explore.

Professor Stone and his team translated these designs into functioning worlds. The team then presented back these virtual worlds for the Brownies and Guides to explore, before issuing the children with the world's first Girlguiding badge for Virtual Reality achievement.

Reflecting on the project, Professor Stone said: "What we're trying to do is put them into a world and give them tasks and quests and we distract them from their own levels of pain.

"The innocence of some of the ideas that came our way just really blew us away."

Plans to use Virtual Reality to support sick children in hospital remain at the development stage. The HIT Team has, however, already demonstrated the potential of the technology to support adult patients recover through innovative collaborations with Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and Exeter Medical School.

Credit: BBC 5 Live Live. Originally broadcast on the Anna Foster programme, 30 May 2018 www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b48l4s