Birmingham Children’s Hospital recently opened its new state-of-the-art kidney wing, and the star of the show was the new Imagination Light Canvas, created with lighting equipment by Philips Electronics. The canvas was part of The King’s Fund’s “Enhancing the Healing Environment” program. This program was developed with the thinking that a better hospital environment would help patients to feel better throughout the healing process and even get better faster.
While the jury is still out on this theory, there are many companies that serve the health care industry which are developing new products and improvements with this theory in mind. Philips is highly interested in this school of thought and has developed several new lighting products around it. But perhaps one of their most noticeable with the greatest impact on individual lives is the Imagination Light Canvas. The children and families that this project shines down on can expect to have their lives changed by these simple glowing lights.
The Imagination Light Canvas is improving these young patients’ lives just as it was intended to. Not only does the canvas create interest, wonder and curiosity as soon as patients enter the kidney wing, but it helps them to pass the time while they are stuck in the ward, which can be several hours up to four days a week. The canvas is not just a light sculpture, it is also an interactive toy that allows children to get together and play games on it too.
The 3 meter (over 9 feet) by 1.5 meter (over four feet) canvas is intentionally placed on the wall opposite the medical ward’s entrance. This location demands the patients’ instant attention and sparks their curiosity as soon as they enter the ward. This distraction technique is effective at lowering stress and fear levels in the hospital environment, and is a good way to help the healing process speed along its way.
It is mounted within a steel frame provided by Midas Technologies, accent-lit with LED cove lights around the outside edge, giving it a softer, floating appearance. Within the frame, the 144 points of color-changing LED lights dance and move in a colorful mix of animations depending on the program that is selected with a standard personal computer. The computer has the ability to run several different programs and control the canvas many different ways. It can be set to display random colors on its own, or it can be set to a mode that will interact with the children. Another mode that is available is game mode. When this is selected, two or more children are able to play simple games with each other while awaiting treatment.
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