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Bringing state-of-the-art pain relief to UK children

Bringing state-of-the-art pain relief to UK children


Smileyscope Holding Inc (Smileyscope™) is a global pioneer in virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) digital therapeutics. The company merges evidence-based medicine with state-of-the-art technology, creating ground-breaking digital treatments that help patients manage pain, anxiety, and mental health.  

Smileyscope is proud to announce its UK launch in partnership with Thinking of Oscar, an Oxford based , UK charity committed to ‘bringing the future of healthcare to children’. Smileyscope’s therapeutic VR suite includes clinically-tested content designed to reduce needle pain and anxiety for children and adults alike. 

75% of children and 15% of adults report a fear of needle-based procedures (1). For children, traumatic needle experiences can have a profound impact and can lead to a lifetime of healthcare avoidance and fear. Researchers from the University of Oxford found that needle fear is a core reason for vaccine hesitancy (2).

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Thinking of Oscar to launch Smileyscope in the UK. We share a mission to bring new innovations to healthcare and deliver improved outcomes for patients,” said Dr Evelyn Chan, MBBS (Hons), MSc, MPH, CEO of Smileyscope. 

Smileyscope’s flagship VR experience takes the shape of an undersea adventure, employing Smileyscope’s patented Procedural Choreography. Patients see waves washing over their arm as antiseptic is applied, and fish nibble at the injection site as the needle is inserted. This reduced pain by 60% pain and anxiety by 40% in large paediatric randomized controlled trials (3). 

Patients and carers report this unique, synchronized approach is extraordinarily effective for a wide range of medical procedures from the Emergency Department to Radiology, to Oncology. 12-year-old Kai, who has cystic fibrosis, suffered anxiety in the lead up to blood tests, and often needed to be restrained. But with the VR headset on, Kai was able to relax. “This was like nothing else I’ve seen,” Kai’s mother said. “He even said the pain wasn’t as bad.”

Thinking of Oscar believes Smileyscope has the potential to significantly improve healthcare experiences for children in the UK and is intending to introduce Smileyscope to several hospitals, starting with the Oxford Children's Hospital, part of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.  

Co-Founder of Thinking of Oscar, David Cole stated “As soon as we were made aware of Smileyscope’s potential impact, we were eager to work to bring it to children in the UK. We have experienced first-hand the trauma that children face when having to have blood tests or cannulations in hospital, and anything that can help to distract a child or ease anxiety for everyone concerned, child, parent or caregiver is a gamechanger. We are so thrilled to be working with Smileyscope. Having now delivered a headset to the Oxford Children’s Hospital, many of the specialist children’s departments are really excited about using it with their patients.”

Smileyscope is the only healthcare compatible VR technology built from the ground up for healthcare professionals. Smileyscope recently received approval from the UK Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Smileyscope is launching in the UK and available for purchase by hospitals, medical and immunization centers.  To learn more, contact Smileyscope at


1. Orenius T, et al. Fear of injections and needle phobia among children and adolescents. Sage Open Nursing. 2018;4:1-8. doi:10.1177/2377960818759442 

2. Freeman D, et al. Injection fears and COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Psychol Med. 2021;11:1-11. doi: 10.1017/S0033291721002609.

3. Chan E, et al. Virtual reality for pediatric needle procedural pain: two randomized clinical trials. J Pediatr. 2019;209:160-167.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2019.02.034.


About Smileyscope 

Smileyscope™ is a leading pioneer in virtual reality (VR) therapeutics focused on managing pain and anxiety for patients. The company's VR headset and proprietary technology, known as Procedural Choreography, replaces negative real-world stimuli with positive VR stimuli resulting in significant reduction in pain and anxiety. The company currently has multiple clinical trials underway and is rapidly expanding its product offerings into additional patient segments.  

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Media Contact

Please contact Vanessa Carslake, Business Development Specialist at +61 800 870 396 or


About Thinking of Oscar

Thinking of Oscar is a charity that was set up in memory of Oscar Cole, who died suddenly in June 2014 aged just 16 months. Thinking of Oscar started off with the aim of supporting children and their families whilst in hospital care by funding projects and innovation over and above that supplied by the NHS. Their mission is to 'Bring the Future of Healthcare to Children', through innovation and the use and investment in digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, data science and machine learning. To date Thinking of Oscar has raised in excess of £400,000 and has funded projects across a number of children's hospitals around the UK.


Media Contact

David Cole, Co-Founder, Thinking of Oscar at

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Last Updated: 23-Dec-2021