NEW health technology developed in the North East could be rolled out across America thanks to pop star Jimmy Osmond.
The singer, the youngest brother in the Osmonds’ band, visited the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle and was deeply impressed by the rehabilitation equipment there.
The 3D technology, VPOD, was the first piece of equipment funded by The Children’s Foundation, a charity based in Newcastle.
The VPOD is used to relax youngsters going under anaesthetic prior to the operating theatre and in other clinics.
The equipment, a world first, was developed by Teesside-based firm Amazing Interactives Ltd.
Jimmy has now returned to America and is promoting the technology to The Children’s Miracle Network – a charity that reaches out to 170 children’s hospitals in the USA. He said: “I first saw the interactive 3D pain distraction system at the Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary and was just blown away by the product.
“Back home our family founded the Children’s Network over 40 years ago which now supports more than 170 hospitals across Canada and the States.
“I’m working with The Children’s Foundation and the creators of the VPOD to see if we can bring the benefits of this wonderful system to our community of hospitals.
“We recently showed the product at our annual Congress Management Network in Coronado Springs, Disneyland. They loved it.”
Tim Dear, creative director of Amazing Interactives, said: “There are now trial VPODs in Miracle Network Hospitals in Texas and Reno with more to follow next year.
“We are delighted the product is an effective medical tool for pain distraction. We are currently working on linking the system to a child’s pulse to help them learn breathing techniques for reducing anxiety, during treatment.
“With this additional technology in place we are expecting to add post trauma treatment to the VPOD features.” Kerry McCormack, project manager at The Children’s Foundation, added: “The 3D pain distraction equipment has been an invaluable source to children’s recovery in the Great North Children’s Hospital.
“There has been really positive feedback from the children who have used the system so far.
“We are launching a campaign to further develop the groundbreaking technology in 2013.”
Sanderson Arcade, in Morpeth, Northumberland, and the centre’s owner Dransfield Properties provided support and fundraised to develop the rehabilitation unit at The Great North Children’s Hospital.
Around £30,500 enabled the 3D immersive system to be installed. It allows children to interact with 3D digital characters and copy their actions to make physiotherapy and other rehabilitation exercises fun – which are otherwise painful and uncomfortable.
There are now trial VPODs in Miracle Network Hospitals in Texas and Reno with more to follow