Injured British soldiers are to have the pain of their wounds eased with virtual-reality strolls around the Devon countryside, as part of a futuristic new treatment.
The pioneering therapy, developed using computer game technology, is intended to alleviate the pain that burns victims and amputees experience when having their wounds dressed.
Researchers from Birmingham, who are leading the project, said that more than a third of burns patients still experience moderate or severe pain when their dressings are changed – even when given morphine or other medication.
The new treatment works by distracting patients from their discomfort by immersing them in virtual re-creations of two real Devon beauty spots, Wembury and Burrator.
Patients who receive the hi-tech pain relief will view the idyllic images on a screen that flips up in front of them on their hospital bed, obscuring the part of their body being treated. And they will listen to accompanying sounds being transmitted through headphones. In one scenario, patients will be able to use controls to take a simulated walk around the woodlands surrounding Burrator, a large reservoir in Dartmoor.