Monthly Archives: January 2016

Traditional mindfulness meditation delivered by a not-so-traditional virtual reality


The Cigna Virtual Relaxation Pod is an immersive two-minute experience that employs guided meditation.

The experience, which features the voice of expert meditation facilitators, is intended to promote mindfulness and help lower the cost of stress-related illnesses which apparently are estimated to cost the U.S. economy over $300 billion each year.

The debut of the Cigna Virtual Relaxation Pod at STORY is the first in the United States with the intent to go global. Future plans include using biofeedback to measure the therapy’s efficacy and to teach users to relax more effectively.”

By ROB KLEIMAN at psfk

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When virtual reality promotes social good (incl. video)


“The VR experience “Perspective, Chapter 2: The Misdemeanor,” which premieres today at the Sundance Film Festival, explores an encounter between New York City police officers and two young black men.

“The idea is to really use VR for empathy,” Ryan Pulliam [co-founder and CMO of Specular Theory] said.

The [Specular Theory] series is part of a broader movement to use VR to promote social good.

AT&T, for example, partnered with animation and visual effects studio Reel FX to create a VR experience called “It Can Wait” to discourage drivers from texting while driving.

In the simulation, the viewer drives a car through residential neighborhoods and busy streets with a phone in hand, narrowly missing bicyclists, joggers and schoolchildren and ultimately causing an accident.”

By Annlee Ellingson at LA Biz

Image: Specular Theory

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Beyond Gaming: 10 Other Fascinating Uses for Virtual-Reality Tech


“Virtual-reality (VR) headsets are now being used in many industries as a way of training people or providing a new way to experience things.

Here are 10 ways virtual-reality technology is being used beyond gaming.”

1. Entertainment
2. Health care
3. Space
4. Museums
5. Automotive manufacturing
6. Education
7. Courtrooms
8. Meditation & Mental Health
9. Shopping
10. Military

By Knvul Sheikh at Live Science

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Uses of Virtual Reality Beyond Gaming Includes Therapy


“Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is setting his sights far beyond [use of VR for] immersive, first-person shooter video games.

After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences,” Zuckerberg [has] said. “Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.”

For years scientists and engineers have been exploring the possibilities of using virtual reality technology outside the gaming world, from PTSD therapy for soldiers to controlling robot avatars.”

Live Science brings you five possibilities:

1. Therapy for amputees and stroke victims
2. Controlling Robots on Mars
3. Seeing inside the body
4. Treatment for PTSD
5. Military training

By Megan Gannon at Live Science

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When Virtual Reality Meets Education


“Over the last several years, VR has moved from being the purview of the military and aviation to the mainstream of professional development, as managers, instructors, coaches and therapists have claimed increasing benefit from immersive experiences.

Perhaps the most utopian application of this technology will be seen in terms of bridging cultures and fostering understanding among young students.

Potentially, a collaboration between these innovative VR platform offerings could result in a curator or artist guiding a group of thousands around a museum exhibition or cultural site, or an actor or professor leading a virtual master class in real time with students from all over the world.”

By Elizabeth Reede for TechCrunch

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Virtual reality is about to completely transform psychological therapy


“The clinical use for VR as therapy has been generating a “rich scientific literature” for the past 20 years, according to Dr. Albert “Skip” Rizzo of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies.

“Finally, the technology has caught up with the vision in this area, and I expect it to really take off in the next year,” Rizzo tells Tech Insider.

“It has not been the theory or research that has held back clinical VR, rather the availability, adoption and costs that have limited its widespread use.”

Image and text by Kevin Loria at Tech Insider

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VIrtual Reality Relaxation Pod To Enhance Mindfulness Therapy For Patients


“Cigna’s Virtual Relaxation Pod transports users into a virtual environment to promote a state of mindfulness.

Cigna Solution Architect Rachel Stein told Medical Daily. “We used Oculus technology to transport the user into a place they’d find relaxing. In future models, the user will be able to choose from different sounds, voices, and a wider variety of environments to relax after a long day of work or when feeling stressed out. My favorite is the woodland campsite.”

Stein, along with her team members, hope to eventually see the pod inside hospital lobbies, where they believe it’ll be used to calm patients about to undergo surgery.”

By Samantha Olson at Medical Daily

Photo and text by Medical Daily

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Virtual Reality Being Used To Help People Conquer Real World Fears (video)


“Overcoming phobias when people have extreme reactions, to things like snakes or speaking in public. Virtual reality is now being used to help people conquer real world fears.

Dr. Skip Rizzo, of the Institute for Creative Technologies, uses virtual reality to treat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We can put people back in these simulations and help them to confront and process very difficult emotional memories,” Dr. Rizzo said.”

By Stephanie Stahl at CBS3

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Virtual Reality Therapy: Treating The Global Mental Health Crisis


“Can virtual reality become a global mental health treatment platform?

Virtual reality (VR) has been used for decades as a tool for therapists to administer virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) in a safe and controlled manner. Due to cost and technology limitations, it has not been widely available, to date.

With the advent of affordable mobile VR headsets, such as the Gear VR, there is a new opportunity to apply telemedicine to decentralize mental health treatment, reaching more patients and improving lives around the world.”

By Alex Senson at TechCrunch

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2016 May Be The Year That Virtual Reality Can Treat Anxiety, Autism and PTSD (video)


“A new video from The Economist claims that 2016 will be the year of the “virtual reality takeover”.

Perhaps most interestingly, virtual reality isn’t all just fun and games; it’s expanded into the medical world, offering new therapies for people suffering from autism, anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The video describes the use of virtual reality exposure therapy for a former soldier suffering from PTSD, noting that it can help ease the mental illness.

“We’re helping patients to confront and process difficult emotional memories by putting them back in simulations of what they were traumatized in,” Skip Rizzo, a psychologist who works with virtual reality exposure therapy, said in the video.”

By Lecia Bushak at Medical Daily

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