321 Fast Draw's VR Journey to the Center of Crohns Disease

321 Fast Draw's VR Journey to the Center of Crohns Disease

Chicago-based 321 Fast Draw is taking patient education and information to a whole new level with its innovative VR journeys into the body. Their recent VR experience, "Attack of the Crohns" (attackofthecrohns.com) guides users through a small intestine that becomes infected with Crohns disease, a gastrointestinal condition that causes severe inflammation to the lining of the gut.

"'Attack of the Crohns' started as a 2D whiteboard animated patient education and clinical trial recruitment video that we created for a Pharma client 5 years ago," says Diane De Re, 321 Fast Draw's Co-Founder and President. “This video went viral in the Crohns and Colitis community and our Pharma client recently asked us to take it up a notch...our 'Attack of the Crohns' VR was born."

Built from Scratch

321 Fast Draw customizes every project that leaves its doors, including VR, however, with the original 2D whiteboard piece under its belt, the science and physiology of Crohns was a no brainer for 321 Fast Draw.

"We knew the story - now we had to make a 3D, interactive VR experience out of it," says De Re.

Playing on the wildly popular "Ninja" cells that go rogue in the whiteboard piece, the artists at 321 Fast Draw made these wily characters the catalyst of the interactive component of the VR experience. Users would be asked to "Defeat the Ninjas."

"The entire process was like making a short film," says De Re. "First, we created a storyboard that begins in a laboratory and then travels through the hologram of a patient whose healthy digestive track becomes gradually more and more infected with Crohns disease the deeper you go down the small intestine."

As the user travels deeper into the small intestine, he or she encounters finger-like extensions known as villi that live within the wall of the small intestine. The user is prompted to venture inside the villi to see what’s going on. While some of the white blood cells are doing their job and defending the body from danger, the “Ninja” cells are wreaking havoc on the body they’re supposed to protect. It’s then the user's job to "shoot out" these damaging cells via hand held trigger devices. Once the body is cleared of the Ninja cells, the VR experience is complete.

This is Only the Beginning

"We've never seen anything like our VR experience in the Crohns community," says De Re. "To be able to show people affected by Crohns what is going on inside their bodies and give them the ability to interact with the problem, has been a game-changer for them and for us."

And this is only the beginning; 321 Fast Draw is currently working on other VR projects, like a journey into a liver that becomes infected with fatty liver disease and a fire safety experience in a server room that is about to be destroyed by a raging fire. Users are required to save the data and themselves.

To learn more about this project or about 321 Fast Draw, contact Sal at sal@321fastdraw.com