Children’s VR Surgery Prep for Before Inc


About Before, Inc

Before, Inc aims to help patients rehearse before their medical procedures the same way people rehearse before stressful events to mentally prepare and calm themselves.

Before, Inc

Saritasa responsiveness is better than other service providers I’ve worked with in the past. Moreover, their work has been phenomenal overall.

Compared to other VR developers, Saritasa works quickly and for a reasonable price. They’re very upfront in letting me know of ways to save money and informing me when certain solutions cost more, and they’ve stuck very closely to the budget. Additionally, they’ve met all their deadlines.

Scott ComuladaCo-Founder of Before, Inc

Their Challenge

Kids don’t always express themselves in obvious ways. Dr. W. Scott Comulada, a co-founder of Before Inc, found this the hard way when his young daughter had to undergo a minor surgery she was overwhelmed with feelings of fear and anxiety.

As an adult, surgery is scary enough even with our capacity to ask questions and understand what is going to happen. From a child’s perspective, it’s worse. They have to deal with large groups of strangers, an unfamiliar location, and the unknown.

Current child surgery preparation procedures rely on books and teams of people to guide the child through the process. While these resources are nice, Dr. Comulada believed there was more we could do, especially with today’s technology.

Our Solution

When people hear “virtual reality”, there’s still some element of science-fiction clinging to it. Most have yet to realize how accessible and powerful virtual reality is. Dr. Comulada saw the potential for VR to provide a realistic yet safe way to prepare children for surgeries to reduce anxiety. He came to Saritasa because he had an idea, but didn’t have any experience in VR.

Saritasa worked closely with Before Inc to design a proof of concept that would be used to secure interest and funding for a full-scale child surgery preparation platform.

Our Approach

What Saritasa Did

Proof of Concept

The goal of this proof of concept is to understand where they need to go with future versions to ensure large-scale use. This initial version provides a simple, interactive overview of the operating room and equipment with a friendly narwhal that demonstrates the patient experience. As they get feedback from doctors and patients, they plan to expand the experience.

Unity Development

The virtual reality experience was built in Unity by our team of experienced 3d designers and developers for the Oculus Quest 2 headset. The user will be accompanied by a child life specialist who will view the experience via a monitor.

Realistic Environment

Balancing the appropriate level of realism was key to creating a successful pre-surgery prep tool geared towards children. Extremely realistic surgery simulations already exist on the market but are too scary for kids. On the other hand, the environments could not be too cartoony either, or else they’d appear more entertainment-driven than educational. We struck a balance by providing a friendly narwhal for the user to interact with while keeping the environment and assets as realistic as possible.

Customized Assets

Keeping the limited budget in mind, our team utilized pre-existing assets and customized them to fit within the narrative and environment. For the proof of concept, the number of animations was kept limited but planned to be expanded upon.

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