Hospitals are scary places for children, and giant MRI scanners can turn a visit into a nightmare. Ninety percent of patients younger than nine require sedation to undergo the ordeal. When industrial designer Doug Dietz saw how kids reacted to the MRI he created for the University of Pittsburgh Hospital, he knew he could do better. Why couldn't an MRI scan be fun?
University of Pittsburgh Hospital
Instead of a plain dark room with flickering florescent lights, he painted the walls with murals. The floor might become an airport runway or a grassy woodland. Calming decor was combined with aeromatherapy and disco ball bubbles and harp music. In his Adventure Series MRI's, children might lay down in a magic submarine, or a sleeping bag under a starry sky in an impressive camp setting. In my favorite, kids are told to pretend they're laying inside a "canoe." After their canoe slides into the scanner, they must be very still. If they don't move at all, they will see fish jumping in the sky over the canoe! "There is nothing like one of your young customers telling you this is a great idea," Dietz said in a TED talk.