Those four walls and your hospital bed become your whole world.

For David Parker, a Toronto-based technology developer, this situation was unacceptable, so he set himself the goal of providing these patients an escape — albeit a temporary one — through virtual reality.

Two years ago, he began to approach local hospitals with a simple idea: He would bring an inexpensive, consumer-grade VR rig to patients’ bedsides, and curate a virtual mini-holiday that let them experience a slice of their pre-palliative lives.

Unlike some of the existing clinical VR gear that had been used in the past, Parker’s version would be absolutely free, and it would be deeply personal: He would let patients make custom requests for the content.

Though that sounds like a simple concept, making it happen wasn’t simple at all.

Parker had to overcome several hurdles, from convincing skeptical hospital staff that he wasn’t using patients as guinea pigs for a new for-profit business venture, to figuring out how to make all of the VR gear hospital-safe from an infection control point of view.

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