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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSC)

Elijah Hiu-Ki Ko


Chronic pain has recently been highlighted as one of the most prominent causes of disability worldwide. Here in the UK, it affects 28 million adults.

Evidence-based behavioral strategies are effective methods, however, multiple barriers prevent patients from broadly accessing these low-risk and nonpharmacologic pain self-management tools. Barriers include few skilled local therapists, co-payments associated with clinic visits, travel costs, and treatment time. Even when delivered to patients at no cost, in-person behavioral treatments can have poor patient engagement, and remain therapist dependent, thereby suggesting a new delivery method to meet the needs of a broad range of patients.


“painVRree” is a skill-based, self-administered, virtual reality intervention for chronic pain. It transcends many current barriers to provides a scalable way to deliver on-demand home-based behavioral treatment for chronic pain. 

Diaphragmatic breathing, an evidence-based behavioral pain management technique, is conveyed in an intuitive and playful way.

The player’s breathing rhythm is used as a game controller to navigate a virtual pain portrait.

Heart rate, skin conductance, & peripheral body temperature of painful moments are used for monitoring treatment progress and formulating the pain portrait in VR.

Hello World! My name is Elijah. I am your team’s design engineer and strategic designer with entrepreneurship in mind.

As a core member of the experimental engine, I am comfortable in identifying unmet and unimagined consumer needs, marrying up robust scientific, clinical, and research insights into an ideation and validation process in discovery. Being empathic to people and solidifying credibility through experimentation is the design philosophy I value the most. As your wild card octopus, I have experience in:

• Human-centred design practices (Healthcare) and get excited translating evidence into practice

• Rapid prototyping in electronics, coding, product design, apps, games, XR/AR

• Communicating ideas and building narratives to support explorations

I am also a creator of magic. It is my conviction that by combining magic thinking and inclusive research, it can help creatives to introduce surprise and delight in the projects they create, a design proposition that feels familiar yet wondrous!

As a team player, I am comfortable with ambiguity and with a passion to learn, which ultimately generates impactful design intervention, with people and for people.

Feel free to hit me up at

Hong Kong Scholarship For Excellence Scheme