What started as a Kickstarter by slo 3D creators founder Mike Balzer, has now become a collaborative effort to help hospitalized children use 3D printed virtual reality to aid in physical therapy and recovery. Although the Kickstarter campagin itself started of slowly and fell short of it’s goal, Balzer is still working hard to accomplish his true goal of getting his 3D printed NEODiVRjr devices into hospitals by Christmas. Thanks to saving grace of Shapeways, G&S, and HOMiDO, along with donations from the local SLO Makerspace run by Dr. Clint Slaughter, Balzer was able to design and create a mini version of the NEODiVRjr.
The idea for the NEODiVRjr came to Balzer when he was demonstrating the potential of VR to the Sacramento-based Shiners Children’s Hospital, he had received a lot of inquires on if and how exactly this technology could be used for physical therapy purposes. In fact, soon after his presentation the Shiners staff utilized the NEODiVR “Value Edition” to comfort and distract a severely burned child while repairing his wounds. By bringing him out of his painful physical state and into a VR world filled with prehistoric dinosaurs, the staff was amazed at how efficiently the device had worked.
While working on the the mini version of his NEODiVRjr, Balzer has made sure to equip the same features and parts (headband bracket, handle, etc) into the design, making a more affordable but equally efficient physical therapy tool. Balzer is still hoping to obtain additional donations so that he can order all the necessary parts and assemble these NEODiVRjr ‘mini’ devices in time to get them out to various hospitals by Christmas time.