PICU Diversion Wall

Maynard Children’s Hospital

Incorporating play into the hospital experience.

Located inside the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, the Diversion Wall is used by physicians and nurses as a motivator to help get patients out of their rooms to encourage movement, and to incorporate a child’s universal language into the hospital setting: play! The interactive media experience creates a diversion from the rigors of medical treatment and recovery by offering patients opportunities for discovery, joy, and creativity, while providing additional data points to medical staff that help measure the young patients’ cognitive, physical, and emotional health.

The experience begins with a tranquil beach scene that integrates real-time weather data from Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. Patients tap the screen to transition to a fantastical underwater environment where they can add vegetation, corals, dolphins, turtles, seahorses, and man-made objects to the scene.

Patients can also create and name their own sea friends, with unique colors and personal style and medical accessories.

Simple games, with adjustable levels of difficulty, are designed to help with patient recovery and rehabilitation.

The “Feed Your Sea Friend” game is a cognitive exercise that tracks the number of successful matches and how long it takes the patient to complete the game.

The “Exercise Your Sea Friend” game is a dexterity-focused activity that tracks the patient’s success rate and how long it takes them to complete the maze.

The “Encourage Your Sea Friend” game is a mental health check for patients that asks how they’re feeling before tossing them collectible hearts. It measures the number of hearts collected by the patient during a specific length of time.

Patients can also travel to another underwater environment to play Sea Swim, an endless runner game where they collect coins and dodge hooks and other obstacles.

The application's backend is a repository of user interaction data that is captured when patients participate in any of the three Sea Friend games. This data is another tool medical staff can utilize to help them assess and measure patients' cognitive, physical, and emotional health.

"The trend I have heard many parents say after seeing their child engage in the wall is the excitement of seeing them genuinely smile for the first time, and to motivate them to want to play again. You can see the demeanor of a patient’s mood change before and after being able to play. I have worked mostly with children under the age of four years and patients who have some cognitive delays who are a little older. It is exciting to see even the younger patients progress to the more difficult levels of each of these games and feel a sense of accomplishment!”

Chelse Cudmore, Child Life Specialist


Anthem Awards Bronze Winner in Health / Special Projects Category

Horizon Interactive Awards Gold Winner

MUSE Creative Award

Project Team

AV Integration:

KONTEK Systems