“To understand how to help aspiring soloists at the Royal College of Music develop the necessary resilience required, professor of performance science Aaron Williamon sought ideas from a field where the stakes are about as high as they can get. “Today, trainee surgeons often learn their trade in a virtual operating theatre,” he says.
“They work on mannequins with realistic-looking wounds, with just the right auditory and visual cues at the right times, to draw the surgeon into the same physical and psychological mode as in an actual operation.”
Inspired by this, he created the world’s first virtual concert hall, complete with backstage area, backstage manager and green room”.
By David Cox at The Guardian
Photo by Royal College of Music
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/sep/08/how-classical-musicians-cope-with-performance-stress
More info: Royal College of Music http://www.rcm.ac.uk/cps/simulator/
Image: Wall Street Daily
“Mindmaze integrates neuroscience with VR to help victims of stroke, amputation, or spinal injuries regain motor function faster than with traditional physical therapy [using] a motion-sensing camera to project a patient’s avatar onto VR goggles.
Then, with the help of as many as 32 electrodes on the patient’s head, he/she can command his or her virtual arm or leg to move to perform a task – for example, lifting a glass or kicking a ball.
Essentially, MindMaze “tricks” a patient’s brain into re-activating damaged neurons, or activating new neurons to take over for the damaged ones.”
By Louis Basenese at Wall Street Daily
Read more: http://www.wallstreetdaily.com/2015/05/12/mindmaze-virtual-reality-therapy/
“Research projects like this one show how applications for the virtual experiences provided by headmounted displays may stretch beyond just entertainment to many different fields.
For the purposes of brain research, it allows scientists to more rigorously test how the brain responds to various real or illusory situations.
Beyond pure research, body swap illusions might put us in someone else’s shoes to increase our empathy towards them. Or they might be a useful therapy.”
BY JASON DORRIERON at Singularity Hub
Read more: http://singularityhub.com/2015/05/01/virtual-body-swap-experiment-maps-out-of-body-illusion-in-the-brain/
Research paper by Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm: http://www.nature.com/srep/2015/150423/srep09831/full/srep09831.html#affil-auth
“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
“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
“To enhance the effectiveness of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and animal phobias, the University of Texas UT3D program is now using its technology to create the illusion of being exposed to a fear, without having to come into direct contact.
The 3-D Fear Project was created in collaboration with the radio-television-film department and the psychology department. It uses an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and sound cancellation headphones to expose the patient to what they fear in the most realistic environment possible. Sean Minns, radio-television-film visiting student researcher, said using regular video to combat phobias is not enough.”
BY ADAM HAMZE at Daily Texan
Read more: http://www.dailytexanonline.com/2014/09/30/3-d-technology-used-to-combat-phobias-ptsd
“A group of neuroscientists at Federal Polytechnic of Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have induced out-of-body experiences for the first time, using virtual reality and an experimental set-up. By deliberately scrambling a person’s visual and tactile senses, it is now possible to give them an “out-of-body” experience.
Two procedures – which are the first to imitate an out-of-body experience artificially – use cameras to fool people into thinking they are standing or sitting somewhere else in a room. They provide the strongest proof yet that people only imagine floating out of their bodies during surgery or near-death experiences.”
By Andy Coghlan for New Scientist
New Scientist – http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12531-outofbody-experiences-are-all-in-the-mind.html
Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience – http://lnco.epfl.ch
“A surprisingly large number of people report having had an Out of Body Experience. A common story is they find their awareness floating up near the ceiling. Dr Graham Philips met up with scientists in Switzerland who’ve been examining the phenomenon.
The question is asked “could my consciousness leap from me to a virtual body just as it does with the rubber hand illusion?
The Rubber Hand Illusion occurs because my brain knows I’m feeling the touch in one place, my real arm, but seeing it in another. It goes with the dominant sense: sight.”
Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience – http://lnco.epfl.ch/
“Experts have found a way to trigger an out-of-body experience in volunteers.
The experiments, described in the Science journal, offer a scientific explanation for a phenomenon experienced by one in 10 people.
Two teams used virtual reality goggles to con the brain into thinking the body was located elsewhere.”
BBC News report – “Out-of-body experience recreated” –
Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience – http://lnco.epfl.ch/