Lab4Living and VR researchers at the Child Health Technology Conference

CHT2021 conference

This week, researchers from Lab4Living and the Culture & Creativity Research Institute are sharing their innovative children and young people’s health related research at Child Health Technology 2021 (CHT2021). The conference is organised by CYP MedTech, a co-operative set up by the National Institute for Health Research to which focuses on the development and adoption of technology for child health paediatrics.

The conference, which runs from 2-5 March 2021, includes interactive demonstrations, Q&A sessions, seminars, posters and an Innovation Zone featuring partners who are innovating in the field of paediatrics and child health.


Virtual Reality games designer Ivan Phelan will be speaking about the work he and Children’s Hospital researchers have been doing with children in prosthetic training, upper and lower limb rehab.


Lab4Living researcher Ursula Ankeny will present a poster on her work in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis which she began while studying Product Design at Sheffield Hallam University.

Using technological interventions to help children with arthritis to be more independent

Using technological interventions to help children with arthritis to be more independent

Innovation Partnership Zone

The conference’s Innovation Partnership Zone will feature a range of Lab4Living projects relating to children and young people. Researchers have built up an international reputation for their expertise in co-design with children and young people for over the last 5+ years through projects including the Starworks Network, JIA tools, Playponics, a Narcolepsy aid, an ADHD activity book, and design and self-management for and with young people.

The Impact VR system developed by Ivan Phelan and staff at Sheffield Children’s Hospital will be featured.

Impact VR developed a system alongside input from Sheffield Children’s Hospital staff and patients to create a system for children to do their rehab after upper limb injuries. The aim was to create a system that was fit for purpose and engaging. The first iteration of the system was trialled at the Children’s Hospital and has since been redeveloped into a standalone version that does not require additional equipment. A new set of home trials have recently begun and patients have started to receive the hardware to do their rehab at home. Ivan said:

It is in the early stages but we hope to improve adherence for rehabilitation in a home setting.

Ivan talked to BBC Radio Sheffield‘s Toby Foster on Tuesday morning about the role of virtual reality and gaming in children’s rehabilitation. Listen to the item here at approx. 2hrs 15mins.

Ivan put Sheffield Hallam’s strengths in research in this area down to the University’s close ongoing relationships with the Sheffield teaching hospitals and Children’s Hospital which enables design researchers and clinicians to identify and explore together areas of unmet need.


Further information

Lab4Living website @lab4Living

@cypmedtech #CHT2021 e: cypmedtech [at] nihr [dot] ac [dot] uks