Antwerp hospital uses VR to make young patients feel at home
Share article:
Share article:

Antwerp hospital uses VR to make young patients feel at home

Credit: Telenet Press

The University Hospital in Antwerp (UZA) is testing a pilot project using VR goggles and robots to transport young long-term patients to their homes or classrooms.

As part of the initiative, set up together with telecom operator Telenet, images from, for example, their home living room can be projected through the VR goggles via a 5G connection, making children feel as if they are virtually present.

“A long stay in hospital is often a heavy burden for patient and family,” said Paul Van Aken, director of patient care at the UZA, in a press release.

“The past year hit particularly hard due to the coronavirus crisis. Virtual Reality and 5G technology can alleviate this problem and create a ‘real’ contact between the hospital and the home or classroom environment,” he added.

The VR system also adds value compared to the classic video call via a smartphone, Van Aken explained, adding that “by putting on the glasses, the patient is back home for a short while.”

In the last weeks, various tests with the system have already taken place, which the initiators of the project have said were a success.

“It is very nice to feel at home for a while because in the hospital everything is often the same. With the VR glasses, it’s just like I’m at home,” Cédric Van Den Bogaerde, a 13-year-old patient, who tested the VR system, said.

VR-bril, robot en 5G halen kinderen die langdurig in ziekenhuis verblijven virtueel naar huis from Telenet Press on Vimeo.

As part of the project, a VR robot developed by the Dutch company Horus VR, “VRiendje”, equipped with a 360-degree camera, microphones, speakers and an internet connection, is placed in a room where the young patient would like to be.

It is then connected to VR glasses worn by the child in the hospital, and by moving the head about, the patient can look around the room where the robot is standing, allowing them to see what is going on there and to speak via the microphone to the people present.

For the time being this is a pilot project, but the initiators hope that in the long term, similar applications can be rolled out elsewhere. However, a fast 5G connection – provided by Telenet for the pilot project – is necessary to fully exploit the potential of VR, meaning a broader rollout will depend on coverage in Belgium.

“5G is twenty to thirty times faster than the current 4G network. Not only can the images be transmitted faster, but the quality also remains optimal. This also makes it a good example of how 5G can be used more and more in the future,” said Piet Spiessens, 5G innovation manager at Telenet.

Latest news

Over 1,000 Covid-19 hospitalisations for first time since early June
The number of patients hospitalised in Belgium as a result of the coronavirus has again exceeded 1,000, climbing to 1,032, according to figures ...
Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...