The latest innovative app comes from the U.K.'s Alder Hey Children's Hospital. The app, Alder Play, uses gaming and augmented reality to distract patients having procedures in hospital. Young patients choose and name their own avatar which will help them understand their hospital visit before they arrive and help calm them during their stay. Their avatar "pops up" at various hospital locations during their visit and helps patients collect "rewards" following procedures that allows them to access new content.
Within Alder Play, parents will also be able to interact with a chatbot called 'Ask Oli' to ask questions about the hospital and what may happen to their child. The system uses IBM's Watson technology to enable questions to be answered in real time -- the first time cognitive technologies have been applied in any hospital in the U.K. in this way.
The app, created by digital agency Ustwo, has been built using the opinions and views of children and young people. Five years ago, a seven year old patient named Niamh Barnes suggested to hospital staff the idea for an app to be created that would distract children like her while they were in hospital, and she and other patients have continued to inspire the app's developers.