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Virtual snow world

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Virtual snow world

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Glide across an icy canyon, where you see smiling snowmen and waddling penguins. Toss a snowball, hear it smash against an igloo, and then watch it explode in bright colors. Psychologists David Patterson and Hunter Hoffman of the University of Washington in Seattle developed this virtual "Snow World" to test whether immersing someone in a pretend reality could ease pain during burn treatment and other medical procedures. They found that people fully engaged in the virtual reality experience reported 60 percent less pain. The technology offers a promising new way to manage pain.

Featured in the December 20, 2005, issue of Biomedical Beat.


David Patterson and Hunter Hoffmann, University of Washington

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David Patterson and Hunter Hoffmann, University of Washington

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This page last reviewed on April 26, 2011