VR Care for Burn Patients

Reducing painful burn treatment in clinical settings with a custom designed headset and accompanying smartphone games.
By frog

Starting in late 2015, an interdisciplinary frog team—including healthcare design fellow Dr. Brian Pridgen, a Stanford Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery resident—came together to design a low-cost headset and virtual reality game experience suitable for burn wound care. The outcome of this project is a headset prototype that is extremely affordable, easy to assemble, and tailored for use in the burn wound care environment. In addition to the headset, we developed an open-source game concept, “Ēpiónē”.

The software was initially developed in response to the shortage of mobile virtual reality experiences that can successfully accommodate a user who is lying down, has a limited range of motion for input, and may not be able to move their appendages in order to operate physical buttons. The game allows the patient to remain appropriately positioned in a horizontal orientation for burn wound care while being immersed in a distracting virtual reality environment.

In addition to designing for constraints related to the immobility of the patient, we built-in two types of game mechanic to appeal to a target audience consisting of all age groups, demographics, and familiarity with games. One game-type is meditative, slower paced, and does not record a player’s score or progress. The other game type is fast-paced, more intense and records the longest distance a user is able to achieve.

Our hope is that this work serves as a platform or template that other developers use to build additional VR experiences for patients. Visit the GitHub page for developer resources and contact us here for more information or to work with frog.


frog is a global design and innovation firm. We transform businesses at scale by creating systems of brand, product and service that deliver a distinctly better experience. We strive to touch hearts and move markets. Our passion is to transform ideas into realities. We partner with clients to anticipate the future, evolve organizations and advance the human experience.