Wavy is an interactive experience for the Sophia Children's Hospital's new Child Brain Lab that enhances curiosity for children getting an electroencephalogram (EEG) to become more engaged in their healthcare by exploring what the EEG does.
Child-patients are usually prepared for the procedural side of the EEG appointment, but due to the EEG test being abstract and difficult to explain, there is little explanation of what the EEG does. Wavy creates a comfortable space for children to explore and ask questions about the EEG.
The experience utilizes a projector that interacts with physical pieces to create a virtual and physical environment for children to explore 'What an EEG does' & to introduce parts of the procedure for children. The Wavy character helps prepare the child by showing the steps that will happen as the child goes through the procedure. After the EEG cap is placed on their head and while the lab technician is preparing the rest of the appointment, the child can play Wavy.
Wavy shows how doing different activities affects the EEG reading. By placing electrodes pieces, children see brain waves, like how electrodes are used to get the EEG reading. An activity knob allows children to change the activity, changing the brain waves patterns.
The visuals, physical pieces, sounds, and movements of the Wavy experience create an environment that enhances curiosity for the child-patient. The child is in control of the pace of exploration, in the hospital setting where they are usually passive participants. Wavy creates a moment to invite children to ask questions and have conversations about the EEG with their parents and lab technician.
Wavy Physical Pieces
Wavy Physical Pieces Set
Moving Electrode Pieces
Wavy Visual Imagery
Sophia Children's Hospital is looking to improve child-patient care by taking the patient's perspective in an innovative new care space, the Child Brain Lab (CBL), with the goal of creating a child-centered EEG station experience for children of the developmental ages of 6-12. This project is in collaboration with the physicians of the Sophia Children's Hospital Child Brain Lab and the Play Well Lab of the Delft University of Technology. The main stakeholders of this project are the child-patients, the parents, the lab technicians, and the neurologists.
Often child-patients are anxious and apprehensive about doing EEG tests as it is confusing and unknown. Anxiety can increase before arriving at the hospital, during periods of waiting, and times of boredom, where the patient's mind has time to wander (Muskat et al., 2015; Paasch et al., 2012). Children fill gaps in knowledge with their own wild assumptions which can cause more anxiety (Gielen, 2019).
Through observational research, context mapping booklets, and interviews with the different stakeholders, patient journeys were developed focusing on the child-patient's experiences of anxiety, boredom, and curiosity, and also their interactions during the EEG appointment. This helped in understanding that children are often accustomed to being passive participants in hospital settings.
Parents and lab technicians take time to explain the procedural side of the appointment, but the explanation of 'What the EEG does' is left out as it is complicated to explain. Sometimes children ask questions during the EEG procedure, about what the sensors do or why they have to do a particular action, such as closing their eyes.
The insights showed that parents and lab technicians are searching for ways to include the child in the EEG appointment, but that children often are nervous and avoid asking too many questions. Although the children are not asking many questions, it was seen that they are curious and need a safe space to feel invited into the conversation.
The different stakeholders were involved in several feedback sessions throughout the iterative design process, such as in initial ideation sketches, low fidelity prototypes, and evaluating an interactive prototype using Adobe XD. This also integrated deeper insights in order to create an experience that fit with all stakeholders, such as importantly not interfering in the lab technician's tasks during the appointment.
To enhance curiosity several factors were used: creating a safe space, building anticipation, allowing children to predict what will happen, and integrating novel elements, such as sound, color, and movement.
The final design is Wavy, an integrated experience that utilizes a projector and physical pieces that interact with one another using infrared light to create the virtual and physical environment for children to explore 'What an EEG does' and show the steps of the procedure. The Wavy character introduces step by step the procedure, which aids lab technicians in demonstrating the tasks that the patient has to do while placing the EEG cap.
After the cap is properly fitted, there is time for the child to play with Wavy, where an interactive experience shows how electrodes placing electrodes helps see brain waves. An activity knob changes the Wavy character's actions, which in turn changes the brain waves. This also helps explain to the children why they have to do certain tasks during the EEG, such as closing their eyes. The pace of exploration is controlled by the child, empowering them in a space where they are often passive. This also creates a moment for child-patients to feel comfortable to ask questions.
The Wavy experience enhances curiosity for the child-patient's getting EEGs to explore what the EEG does and invites them to ask questions and have conversations about the EEG.