Monthly Archives: April 2015

Afraid of spiders? Try virtual reality therapy

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“Therapists do not typically keep boxes of live spiders in their desks. That can make it tricky to treat patients suffering from arachnophobia using exposure therapy, one of the most popular ways to combat phobias.

So startups and universities are starting to treat phobias using virtual reality. With realistic and immersive technologies like the Oculus Rift, therapists could help a patient overcome crippling fear using safe, easy-to-wrangle simulated spiders.”

By Heather Kelly at Money CNN

Read more: http://money.cnn.com/2015/04/29/technology/virtual-reality-therapy-phobias/

Invisibility Cloak Makes Social Anxiety Disappear

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“Is public speaking your biggest fear? Ever wish you could just disappear when you’re forced out in front of a crowd? Now you can.

A team of Swedish scientists has set up a virtual reality experiment that can trick people into feeling as if they were invisible. Then they set them up in front of a skeptical-looking crowd.

When people could see themselves in front of the audience, their heart rates and breathing went up —sure signs of anxiety. They also said they felt anxious. But when they wore the virtual reality headsets and felt invisible, they felt less anxious, Arvid Guterstam and colleagues at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm reported.”

BY MAGGIE FOX at NBC News

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/invisibility-cloak-makes-social-anxiety-disappear-n346996

Research paper by Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm – Illusory ownership of an invisible body reduces autonomic and subjective social anxiety responses: http://www.nature.com/srep/2015/150423/srep09831/full/srep09831.html

Virtual Reality Offers Window Into Parkinson’s Psychosis

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“A new virtual reality simulation, demonstrated during the American Academy of Neurology 2015 meeting, offered physicians who treat patients with the condition a glimpse into these debilitating symptoms in an effort to raise awareness.

“It’s very important that physicians begin to understand what it’s like to have a psychotic experience like a visual hallucination, so they know what to ask and how to explore the topic with patients,” Jeffrey L. Cummings, MD, ScD, Director of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at the Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada, said in an interview.”

By Nicole Blazek at Neurology Advisor

Read more: http://www.neurologyadvisor.com/oculus-rift-parkinsons-psychosis-virtual-reality-simulation/article/410826/#

Virtual Reality Taking Patients to the Beach Before Surgery

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Image: Cubical Ninjas

“Hospitals can be intimidating and stressful places. But imagine instead of sitting in a waiting room, you’re on vacation at an exotic beach. Instead of focusing on post-surgery pain, your mind takes you to a lush forest in the soothing rain.

That’s what Glen Ellyn, IL-based Cubicle Ninjas wants you to do with Guided Meditation VR, a virtual reality app for the Oculus Rift. It’s exhibiting the technology this week in Chicago at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Using an Oculus Rift, patients can choose from VR locations including a beach, forest, canyon, or ancient Japanese dojo to help improve their overall wellbeing. Cubicle Ninjas, a creative design agency, says hospitals can use virtual reality to reduce stress and anxiety before procedures, reduce pain after surgery, and make an extended stay in the hospital more exciting.”

By Jim Dallke at ChicagoInno

Read more: http://chicagoinno.streetwise.co/2015/04/13/oculus-rift-vr-app-from-cubical-ninja-helps-patient-medical-care/

Engaging and motivating special needs students with immersive technologies

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“At the recent Special Education Technology Needs (SETN) conference in Sydney, Kieran Nolan, ICT technician at Wooranna Park Primary School in Dandenong North, ran a session on engaging and motivating special needs students with immersive technologies.

“We’ve had great success with students on the autism spectrum with the Titans of Space program using Oculus Rift [a virtual-reality headset]. The students virtually travel around the entire solar system, learning about each planet as they visit them.”

Students also upload their more artistic photos to a virtual art gallery.

“They take turns ‘walking’ through the art gallery to see their work,” Mr Nolan says.

Video is an old technology, but it is being used as a tool to teach special-needs students a behaviour or skill, says Shane Spence, who ran a session on Video Self Modelling. He is the director of meTV Education at Yarra Ranges Special Developmental School in Mount Evelyn, and streaming Australia-wide.

The idea is to show a child a two-minute or less video of themselves performing a skill they cannot currently perform.

“The learning is much more powerful when it’s yourself that you are watching and imitating,” says Anthea Naylor, a special education teacher at Yarra Ranges.”

By Cynthia Karena at The Age

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/assistive-technology-helping-students-with-disabilities-and-learning-difficulties-succeed-20150412-1mf6l3.html

10 ways virtual reality is revolutionizing medicine and healthcare

  Image: Nick Statt/CNET

“Scientists and medical professionals have been at the drawing board for years now, developing and implementing virtual reality in ways that can help them train, diagnose, and treat in myriad situations.

Here are just ten of the use cases that are currently in practice and continually developing as the technology itself develops too.”

  1. Exposure therapy
  2. Treatment for PTSD
  3. Pain management
  4. Surgical training
  5. Phantom limb pain
  6. Brain damage assessment and rehabilitation
  7. Social cognition training for young adults with autism
  8. Meditation
  9. Opportunities for the disabled
  10. Opportunities for the homebound

              By Erin Carson at Tech Republic

              Read more: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/10-ways-virtual-reality-is-revolutionizing-medicine-and-healthcare/

              Finding actual tranquility in virtual reality

              Techniques like virtual reality exposure therapy, employed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism, as well as various phobias and anxiety disorders by immersing patients in various simulated environments, have been in development among medical professionals since the early ’90s. And a wave of VR experiments in meditation are emerging: A selection of calm-inducing environments are ready for download via the Guided Mediation VR portal, and Babson College student Nina Vir, a competitor in last October’s HackingArts hackathon at MIT, presented a similar VR meditation concept called NiVRana.”

              By Michael Andor Brodeur at The Boston Globe

              Read more: http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/2015/04/04/large/bqWlhjYw5y7EyzzHPDEaWL/story.html