For a child, the recovery process in a hospital can be a long and uncertain experience filled with intimidating equipment, unfamiliar people and multiple treatment sessions. The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital came to Dimensional Innovations with a challenge to create an immersive technology-based theater to assist children who’ve long been confined to a room slowly work their way back into a public setting — complete with interactive games that help them transition to returning to an active lifestyle.

Technology +

Using Microsoft Kinect technology, DI’s animation and motion graphics team designed two interactive video experiences specifically for the theater. The games were developed to both visually stimulate young minds and provide unique healing benefits to patients. Researchers at the National Children’s Medical Center in Washington D.C. found that video games provide a distraction that aids in pain relief — while playing, users are more likely to utilize muscles they typically would leave sedentary due to pain, increasing their range of motion much faster.

The “Eagles’ Flight” experience allows participants to begin a journey in Iowa and use their arms to control a bird flying across the United States — seeing historic landmarks like Mount Rushmore and the Rocky Mountains along the way.

“Story in the Stars” brings together three original stories as constellations in the night sky — as users experience a narrative, they interact with on-screen hot-spots to reveal animated elements. Within the game are four unique voice-overs, allowing children to get a slightly different experience each time they interact with the game.

Other installations created by DI include interactive donor walls, a history space with informational plaques and custom exhibits, and a mobile art projection display.


Not only an accomplishment of seamless technology integration, the theater has been a benefit to patients and families as they navigate the recovery journey. Tami M. Pollari, Director of Patient and Family Services, remarked that “Since day one, the theater has exceeded our wildest expectations. Both in terms of the space purpose and our vision of ‘happiness production’ through magical play for users of all ages and abilities.”

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