Blood donation isn't for the faint of heart and some Illinois donors are being offered a gadget to hopefully curtail the uncomfy feeling.

Technology isn't always used for good things, but in this case, it's definitely being used for the better. NBC Chicago reports that Chicago-area blood donation centers are beginning to use 'mixed reality' headsets to help soften blood donors' nerves.

And they're already working to expand and bring the tech to other donation centers. Right now, the two centers that offer it in Illinois are in Aurora and Tinley Park.

What Does It Do?

According to Abbott, with the mixed reality goggles on, you stay aware of your surroundings. But you're also taken into a garden where plants and flowers are popping up around you and a gentle voice named Willow is your guide as you're encouraged to create a garden yourself.

The garden experience is the only mixed reality experience they have right now but they're working to add on.

Why They Made The Tech

It's a push to get younger blood donors and first-time donors in the donation chair. NBC Chicago reports that high-school and college-age donors are down 50% since the pandemic.

Alex Carterson, divisional vice president, medical, scientific and clinical affairs at Abbott, said in a release:

This is an exciting new way to get people interested in donating blood. Mixed reality introduces a safe, fun dimension to the act of giving blood. We think this will resonate with people who have been hesitant to donate, those who have never donated and a younger generation who can become the foundation of the nation’s blood donation efforts for years to come.

You can get more details about the new technology on their website.

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