With help of new technology of Artificial Intelligence and the newest findings in Neuroscience, we are creating a solution for those with needle fear.

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The problem that we are trying to solve is needle induced fear and fainting

Physical and Emotional reactions

People with needle fear often experience so-called vasovagal reactions including being nauseous, feeling dizziness, lightheadedness, and even fainting.

Healthcare avoidance

Around 40% of patients refuse medical treatment due to needle fear.
Around 53% of people avoid or delay their visit to a doctor or hospital for too long.

Efficiency loss

Venipunctures on average take around 12-18 minutes longer than usual for people with needle fear.
Around 20% of the time it completely fails.

Worse patient outcomes

Around 29% of patients with needle fear have worse health outcomes due to failed medical procedures and avoidance or delay of treatment.

About the FAINT study

In 2018 the Dutch Research Council (NWO) awarded dr. Elisabeth Huis in ‘t Veld a Veni grant for her FAINT (FAcial INfrared Thermal imaging in the prevention of needle induced fainting) study. The aim of the FAINT study is to develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm that is able to ‘read’ certain signals from the face that show that someone might experience very early symptoms of fear and fainting.

During this study, that is performed both at Sanquin and Tilburg University, we are recording people undergoing blood draws with a thermal imaging camera and with a regular video camera. With this data we are developing our algorithm. In 2019, NWO awarded Elisabeth and Judita a Take-Off grant to develop the first prototype of the game

What is biofeedback?

Biofeedback means that we measure something physical and visualize it for you. This can be something like your breathing, but it can also be something that you are usually not aware of and/or that you don’t have control over. For example, it is possible to measure and visualize brain waves, heart rate, skin conductance, etcetera. For example, we can show you a ball that bounces at the same rate as your heartbeat. If we ask you to decrease your heartrate, this is very difficult if not impossible to do. However, if we instead tell you to try and make the ball bounce slower, or quicker, you can learn how to do this! It sounds like magic, but it really works.

Developing the solution

So in conclusion, we are working on two things in parallel: the game, and the algorithm. Together, they will make an AI driven serious game that works with biofeedback. In essence, the game will teach you how to conquer your needle fear.

Meet our amazing team that is making this app possible.


Co-Founder of AINAR

With a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, an MBA, experience, and a network in donor studies and healthcare, and a drive for innovation, Elisabeth is the visionary behind the FAINT research project and AINAR.

Elisabeth is assistant professor at the Department of Cognitive Science & Artificial Intelligence at Tilburg University, and PI Donor Cognition at Sanquin.


Co-Founder of AINAR

With two Masters in Neuroscience and AI, Judita is the Ph.D. candidate at Tilburg University and Sanquin, a blood bank in the Netherlands. With her love for programming, she is the perfect person to develop the underlying magic of our solution.

Judita is a PhD candidate at the at the Department of Cognitive Science & Artificial Intelligence at Tilburg University, and at the Donor Cognition group at Sanquin.


Business Developer

Before Dirk joined Tilburg University as the academic start-up business developer, he founded and scaled the company DashTag to international success.

Ismail Arslan

After a background in Business Economics and obtaining a Master’s degree in Finance, Ismail is now pursuing a MSc. in Cognitive Science & AI. As a student assistant, Ismail joined the team to collect and analyze data.

Michelle Mak

Michelle is currently writing her Master’s thesis in Data Science & Society at Tilburg University. With her background in Communication and Marketing and skills in data analysis, she is helping AINAR as a student assistent on different aspects.

Enrico Vermeltfoort

As a student assistent at Tilburg University Enrico assists with programming the Artificial Intelligence. Having finished his bachelor in Psychology, he is now working on his Master in  Data Science & Society.

See what other people with a needle fear are saying.

Whenever I donate, I feel so dizzy, nauseous, and lightheaded. It feels terrible! I wish there is something for it



Great, I would like to become a blood donor, but I always get dizzy.



This is a great initiative! Can I use this in the hospital too?



This is so cool! I’m always nervous when donating blood.



I want to donate the blood badly but I faint everytime and I had to stop!



I would love to try this! It’s a great innovation!



Contact Form

Contact us if you have any questions or would like to collaborate.

We’d love to hear from you and build this dream project together. Drop us a line and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!