Cancer patients receiving radiation therapy to treat their disease undergo a number of unknown and often intimidating procedures including a CT scan for treatment planning purposes followed by daily radiation treatments that they receive while laying down underneath a rotating linear accelerator. Many patients feel a great deal of anxiety and trepidation surrounding these procedures largely driven by fear of the unknown – radiation therapy as a concept is scary for many patients. Stereoscopic 180o cameras are new to the market and capable of delivering high-quality video footage that can used for immersive visual experiences when paired with a virtual reality headset. It would be of great benefit to cancer patients unfamiliar with the concept of radiation therapy to experience the related procedures in a safe, virtual environment. Additionally, it may be of interest to patients to be able to share what experience of treatment with loved ones and close supporters who may also wish to experience these complex procedures.
The client has acquired a camera suitable for capturing high-quality, 180o stereoscopic video. They will be providing students with example footage of radiation treatment procedures. Students are tasked with designing a virtual reality software platform wherein experience-designers (re: hospital employees) can use recordings of a treatment simulations and place the video files in a structured folder area (or other simple database) defined by the application. Along with a user-written or application-generated configuration file, this would create a custom VR application at run-time that allows patients to select experiences to see or go through a pre-selected sequence of treatment experiences. The end goal of this project would be to have a customizable and extensible application that could be applied to a broad range of patient educational experiences within a hospital setting (rather than a one-off application). Once other departments see how beneficial this application is for patients, wider adoption will naturally follow.
Stereoscopic video footage of various hospital procedures related to the radiation therapy process will be provided by the hospital client (The Ottawa Hospital; TOH). This includes CT scans and radiation therapy treatments on a conventional linear accelerator. All footage is shot from the perspective of a patient receiving the procedure.