In spring of 2017, the Bronx-based Montefiore Medical Center envisioned a new kind of distraction for patients: a VR art experience. In order to make it happen, the hospital reached out to artist Tom Christopher
Christopher is an artist trained in technical drawing for courtrooms and of cars for commercial clients, but he took a looser, more expressionist approach for his VR artwork. Using Google’s Tilt Brush––a virtual reality application used to draw three-dimensional forms––Christopher created immersive, gestural, and colorful depictions of nearby neighborhoods so that pediatric cancer patients could explore a picture similar to their own home, while staying inside the hospital.
Being able to wander through the virtual reality environment Christopher created has reportedly helped reroute the patients’ focus away from their pain. For some patients, the ability to redirect one’s attention also means a lesser need for opioid pain medicines. As Olivia Davis, the assistant curator at Montefiore tells Forbes contributor Charlie Fink: