What more should we expect from VR technology?

Virtual reality(VR) is a computer-generated simulation in which a person can interact within an artificial three-dimensional environment using electronic devices, such as special goggles with a screen or gloves fitted with sensors. It is part and parcel of what students at Nlab Innovation learn as extracurriculars.

 

Mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorders, anxiety, phobias have been on the rise especially during the corona pandemic. Amazingly Virtual Reality therapy has shown success in treating such disorders by immersing a patient in a three-dimensional environment that mimics a traumatic memory.

 

~Mr. Merkle, a former veteran who was admitted at a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Long Beach, California. After about seven runs through the simulation, Mr. Merkle started uncovering fragments of memory his mind had blacked out, which is a common response to trauma. Mr. Merkle walked out in the hall after he was done, grappling with what his brain had revealed. Confronting the past in V.R. proved to him that he could survive revisiting his memories. “That was the biggest leap,” he said. (src: “NewYork Times”)

 

Doctors and psychiatrists are now vouching for virtual reality therapy, “If you overcome something in V.R., you overcome it in real life,” said Daniel Freeman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Oxford University who runs virtual reality therapies at 10 public clinics across England.

 

More to that, Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab will be working with the elderly, who will have ready access to the equipment (VR goggles by MyndVR, a Dallas company) under the supervision of staff members. The goal is to see whether virtual reality can improve their mood, strengthen their relationships with staff and make them more receptive to technology. Other senior communities in the United States and elsewhere will soon be added by the California university.

 

Virtual reality looks promising for treating phobias, according to Dr. Howard Gurr, a psychologist in Long Island, N.Y. He’s been interested in virtual reality for more than 20 years. Now it’s only up to further studies to tell what more VR can do.

 

By Julieth Sewava, Nlab Innovation Academy.

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