TCU Trio’s Startup Gives Kids
VR Escape in Hospital

Prolonged hospital stays can be tough on children, but Relievr gives them a virtual reality escape during that time.

Asian Little Chinese Girl playing doctor with tablet and VR goggles in isolated white background.

From Dallas Cowboy football games to Disneyland attractions, virtual reality technology may become a way for children’s hospital patients to experience events from their hospital beds. 

A trio of Texas Christian University students developed a concept for virtual-reality headsets to help long-term patients in children’s hospitals to escape from the walls of their treatment rooms. 


The idea stemmed from TCU senior Christine Clutterbuck who as a child suffered from Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder. She spent two years in and out of the hospital.

“It’s such a depressing environment. My family couldn’t be there all the time because of work,” Clutterbuck told Fort Worth Magazine. “It makes it very difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“It’s such a depressing environment. My family couldn’t be there all the time because of work.”
Christine Clutterbuck

Clutterbuck teamed with TCU seniors Mathew Debilio and Kendall Records to create Relievr, a video platform to provide children a virtual release from the hospital. Video for the headsets would be streamed through a mobile app, then played on a smartphone that’s viewed through the headsets.

Clutterbuck is a graduate of Grapevine High School, and is scheduled to graduate from TCU’s Neeley School of Business in December. Debilio and Records both are seniors in the Neeley School.

Initially, the project was open sourced for content provided by third parties. After testing their product with patients at the Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, the three found that children enjoyed customized content that would only be possible if they partnered with independent vendors.

Relievr pitched their concept to several vendors and received interest from the Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Mavericks. Relievr told Fort Worth Magazine that other potential partners include Disneyland, IBM, and Sony. 

“It’s a wonderful business; there are other markets.”
Michael Sherrod

Michael Sherrod, the William M. Dickey Entrepreneur in Residence at the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center at TCU, believes Relievr’s use of virtual reality technology has the ability to spread into other business ventures.

“It’s a wonderful business; there are other markets,” Sherrod told Fort Worth Magazine. 

The team is searching for $125,000 in funding for pilot research and app development to further the startup.

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