Katie Stoudemire, a programme manager with the North Carolina Botanical Garden in the United States, believes there is power in interacting with natural objects. But children with compromised immune systems find themselves stuck within the stark white walls of hospital rooms. The founder of Wonder Connection, Stoudemire decided to devise a product that brings the natural world to pediatric patients.
“There's magic in sprouting a seed. For kids to be able to be a part of that, there's an implication of hope there,” Stoudemire told Core77.
Stoudemire developed the WonderShpere, a sealed, mobile chamber that brings nature and science into hospital rooms. The sphere enables immune-compromised children to plant, dig, water, and touch nature without danger of infection. It provides a bedside field trip that is hands-on, experiential, multi-sensory, and safe.
Its design is based on research advocates for the positive health effects of nature therapy. The experience serves as an emotional boost, putting patients in the positive headspace required for healing.
Equipped with glove-ports and an airtight seal, the device is safe and easy to clean. It is able to host a range of activities, including flower arranging, baiting Venus fly traps, and dissecting flowers.
WonderSphere is the winner of the Design for Social Impact category in the 2016 Core77 Design Awards. According to jury member Emily Pilloton, Founder of the nonprofit, Project H Design, the WonderSphere felt scalable, “like it could have impact in every single hospital in the country or world.”