1. Chronic Refractory Cough

November 2020

We designed and developed a VR experience and video to showcase the mechanism of action of our client’s Phase II developmental medicine for refractory chronic cough, transporting the user to the microscopic level of neurones and epithelial cells so they could witness the process first-hand.

The challenge was to demonstrate the novel mechanism of action in an exciting and engaging way. The science was ground-breaking and so we were creating concepts and images which were, in many cases, completely new.

The resulting 360 video explained and demonstrated the relevant central and peripheral neurophysiology and neuropharmacology using imagery and sound which will be remembered long after viewing.

As part of a multi-platform approach, we designed a version for a mobile VR headset, a desktop-based VR experience, as well as a guided 2D version to ensure optimum access to the materials across a broad range of audiences.

Quote from the client Global Commercial Lead

“The team at Empathetic Media are great to work with. Their team understands the science of our product and bring a creative aspect that we needed to tell our story. As a global team we needed them to be flexible enough to work across regions and they did that very well delivering a quality disease state video that we can use in all major markets.”

2. Hepatitis C

The NHS has set the goal of eliminating Hepatitis C by 2025. Our client established a partnership with the NHS to support this effort with an innovative programme to address under-diagnosis amongst people who inject drugs (PWID).

The aim was to create an immersive VR experience to put clinicians in the shoes of PWIDs, and immerse the viewer in inaccessible environments be it a prison cell in Wandsworth prison or a makeshift encampment on the outskirts of Wolverhampton.

We recorded live VR testimonies from PWIDs in their own environments to understand the challenges they face in accessing diagnosis and treatment for Hep C. Individuals were selected who were willing to communicate details of their daily lives, high-risk behaviours and experiences with illness and treatment. We also included medical specialists and local outreach workers to offer insights into discrepancies between best practices and the reality of providing day-to-day treatment.

VR is a medium designed to generate a sense of visceral immersion in a virtual environment. This is particularly powerful when used to record people and places that are normally inaccessible, providing a gateway to new level of understanding.. This is a completely novel experience, as is the interface, which follows the format of a branching conversation: users can choose which topics they want to focus on, and to what level of detail. The result is hard-hitting and revelatory, engendering a sense of perspective-taking in the user and thus a greater likelihood of them taking action as a result.

The hardware, Oculus Quest, has been on the market for less than one year and provides a high quality, untethered, audio and visual experience, allowing users to experience the programme at work or at home in 10-20 minutes. This mobile aspect circumvented one of the main challenges of VR implementation, namely the need for a dedicated laptop and VR system. We wanted Health Care Professionals and providers to benefit from the immersion experience and persuasiveness of the technology without being hamstrung by the technical challenges.

3. Gene Therapy

This cutting-edge, interactive, immersive VR learning experience was designed to educate patients, journalists and the general public on a complex topic – gene therapy – in an innovative, informative and above all, compelling way. It was built to strengthen our client’s positioning as a leader and pioneer in the new and emerging field of gene therapy.

The goal of the programme was to introduce users to the new and exciting world of gene therapy. Once regarded as ‘science fiction’, and something in the far-off future, gene therapy is very much here and now, and this learning experience was created to provide users with a fun, immersive and interactive way to learn about this ground breaking technology, and make the audience understand the science behind it.

User experience is engaging and enjoyable with an underlying scientific narrative that is simple and compelling, that leads to excellent recall.

The experience is the world’s first mobile, interactive VR gene therapy learning experience designed for the Oculus Quest.