A Future with Virtual Reality Therapy

A Future with Virtual Reality Therapy

By Trey Goodman

Virtual reality (VR) is among the great marvels of the digital age. The ability to experience new digitally created worlds has proven to be a fascinating prospect to say the least. In the mainstream media, virtual reality is viewed as an entertainment medium with the video gaming industry giants, such as Playstation, constantly developing the VR tech to provide a more gaming friendly experience. However, VR has the potential to be much more as evident from the concept of virtual reality therapy (VRT) – the use of VR to treat various physical and mental ailments. The term VRT was coined in 1994 and as the technology involved continues to flourish so does the prospects of VRT to make a positive impact in humanity.

“VRT conquers mental and physical feats that were impossible yesterday”

In today’s world, VRT is serving as a viable tool in combating both physiological and psychological disabilities. One of the most notable applications of VRT is to help patients overcome various phobias such as claustrophobia (fear of being in congested places), fear of public speaking and acrophobia (irrational fear of heights). The procedure of VRT is quite simple. The example of fear of flight can be taken. The patients visit the clinic and by means of VR equipment, such as googles, sound system etc., they are inserted in a flight scenario . With the passage of time and multiple sittings, the patient is able to overcome their fear. This concept of treatment is known as exposure therapy. It is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy technique, often used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and phobias. For phobias, exposure therapy is used in conjunction with relaxation exercises and/or imagery. In conjunction with learning how to bring about a relaxed state at will, the therapy technique gradually exposes patients to what frightens them and helps them cope with their fears.

Apart from the aforementioned applications, VRT is serving to alleviate other medical issues as well. It has become a key stroke rehabilitation tool. VRT is useful for augmenting rehabilitation of the upper and lower limbs of patients suffering from stroke and other neurological injuries. Virtual reality therapy has also showed promise in helping young adults with autism. This is done by providing them with different social interaction scenarios through a virtual avatar with the goal of overcoming their communication disability. So far, the results have been very positive. Virtual Reality Therapy also overlaps with the gaming aspect of VR and provides treatment of issues like depression. Sparx, a fantasy video game, is designed with depression patients in mind and has been seen as effective.

VRT has come leaps and bounds in a short period of time but the technology remains in its infancy. There are issues to be resolved such as complaints of over exposure to VRT leading to side-effects like cyber sickness (a virtual motion sickness). Moreover, there are still limited physicians with proper VRT training which may reduce its availability for the time being. That being said, the pros still outweigh the cons and the prospect of VRT becoming a permanent fixture in the world of medicine remains bright!

VR – Giving a New Definition to Connectivity

VR - Giving a New Definition to Connectivity

By Abdullah Minaj

It goes with saying, Virtual reality (VR) is one of the most talked about buzzwords when it comes to cutting edge technology. Many major tech corporations such as Samsung and Sony have begun the integration of VR, recognizing its potential in various industries such as entertainment and communications. A large part of this growth is due to the introduction of VR headsets incorporated with devices such as mobile phones and gaming consoles. To make this technology accessible to the general public, the need to generate interest needs to increase as well in order to ship VR headsets worldwide to increase impact. Understanding the need to provide VR headsets to the public delivers great value.

VR headsets contribute greatly in the education sector and can change how we view classroom environments. With the availability of VR headsets, students can learn about different topics by experiencing each topic in virtual environments. For instance, they can learn about historical figures by interacting with them in the virtual world or they can learn about a remote desert island by witnessing it virtually. The possibilities are endless as we can help students learn through experience rather than theoretically explaining something through textbooks. While books and knowledge will always have a place in education, the VR experience would enhance their learning and be the driving force to help students retain information.

“Connecting with our loved ones or completing business meetings can be re-engineered for productivity and intimacy with VR”

VR headsets will revolutionize communication worldwide. While video calls have been a great for personalizing meetings over long distances, VR headsets will take it one step further. VR meetings will become the next advancement in the business world and personal world when it comes to long distance interaction. The possibility to meet someone in a virtual environment and interact with them as if they were personally there creates value in many different ways.  Combining video conferences and VR will add value to the quality of the meeting itself while having each individual engaged throughout the meeting due to the immersive content. Imagine, all attendees located in various place across the nation or worldwide come together in a virtual conference room and conduct their meeting.

Finally, the impact of VR on entertainment will be unprecedented. As for movies, the immersion will place you right in the middle of the action defining a unique and creative experience. Similarly, video games are already achieving this by leveraging VR games that create an interactive world itself. The perspective would be so new and interesting that it would only enhance these activities and and make it more similar to the real world.

Having highlighted the benefits of VR headsets, we will continue to unravel its capabilities with integration and time. The world is already connected with the internet but VR would advance us to that next step and allow us to experience each other’s world more intimately. The need for this creativity is here, especially with the troublesome times and disconnection. It’s crucial we leave an impact for generations to come by learning through different perspectives like it’s reality. This topic can only be achieved if VR headsets are accessible to all walks of life in order to overcome intangibles and become closer to one another.

How Virtual Reality will Transform the Future of Education

How Virtual Reality will Transform the Future of Education

How Virtual Reality will Transform the Future of Education

By Billy Knight

In a world where students are unable to go to school due to barriers that are financial, geographical, and societal to name a few, virtual reality will see a rise to prominence as an answer to the plea of many young individuals. It’s only a matter of time until schools across the world begin implementing the use of virtual reality in classrooms. Although, full integration into a school curriculum might require extensive oversight and regulatory committees, the potential benefits and possibilities of VR will override any doubt or hesitation to provide students the gateway into a world of education that knows no limits.

Necessity and Enhancement

Students can be divided into two categories that are each served uniquely with virtual reality.

Group 1 (Necessity): Virtual reality will create the bridge to knowledge for students who don’t have access to an educational system.

Group 2 (Enhancement): Virtual reality can improve the existing experience of students who may rely fully on text and visual representation (images and video) for an understanding of the world around them.

The potential benefits of virtual field trips has teased educators for some time now. Virtual reality can give schools the chance to provide an immersive learning experience without the additional cost and logistics needed to run a full-scale operation. Students who can’t afford to go on extensive trips would be accommodated, given the fact that no traveling, booking or deposit is needed to take part.

“Teachers can interact with students to capture their full attention through the VR experience”

Educational Benefits

VR can provide a huge range of educational benefits. As it is completely immersive, in terms of video and audio, students will be able to take advantage of learning by both sight and sound while being locked in a world that is far different to the one they are in now. For students who have a short attention span, this is ideal, as the experience is so immersive that instances of lapses in concentration will be the result of creative thought or new synapses.

Otherworldly Experiences

In VR, students will be able to venture out into space, Medieval England, the World Wars and even walking on the moon, so instead of learning from a text book, they can feel as though they are actually there themselves. Not only is this unforgettable, but it will make students excited to learn. The introduction of virtual worlds where students can interact in a world that is separate from ours might create a new type of social encounter where people will experience first-hand virtual encounters. Students will get to interact with kids from all over the world despite real life barriers they may be experiencing. Although this type of virtual world doesn’t exist, the technology is moving fast in that direction.

Stress-Free

Students often experience some degree of stress when it comes to field trips and it is also very stressful for parents as well. After all, with the deposit, the traveling, the groups of friends and more can make it almost impossible for some students to enjoy themselves fully. With VR, students are given a 360-degree field of view with vertical parameters. This, combined with audio immersion creates a learning experience unlike any other, and they will be able to get closer to the educational viewpoints in question without ever having to step foot outside the classroom. Additionally, individualized experiences will result in increased independent thinking and autonomy.

Virtual Reality will ultimately improve student experiences and provide a new avenue of education that the world has not seen yet.