“With VR headsets selling out faster than manufacturers can create them, the future looks bright for mass adoption, and that could well mean that an Oculus Rift looks just as natural in the doctor’s surgery as stethoscopes and needles.
Here is a list of some novel uses for VR in mental health and beyond:”
1. As a treatment for paranoia
2. Providing phantom limb pain relief
3. As a super-effective pain killer
4. Helping PTSD sufferers live with their trauma
5. As a controlled virtual environment for alcoholics
6. As training for lazy eyes
7. As social cognition training for young autistic adults
“Kevin, a ‘Virtual Interactive Training Agent’ [ViTA] was designed [by the USC Institute for Creative Technologies] to help students with autism spectrum disorder.”
“After seeing ViTA DMF in action, we realized there is limitless potential to help in many of the soft skill areas where folks on the autism spectrum struggle, both in and out of the workplace,” said psychologist Skip Rizzo, ICT’s director of medical virtual reality, who co-leads the project.
“We can provide experiential practice with a virtual human to help students practice a range of social and vocational skills, including how to take turns properly in a discussion, how to respond when someone says something inappropriate or even how to make small talk.”
“Speech language pathologists at Autumn Care are taking action to help their patients fight dysphagia with virtual reality therapy.
The facility uses the Synchrony Dysphagia Solution from Accelerated Care Plus, to help their patients with the swallowing disorder. It gives patients and their therapists a chance to look inside, at the muscles used to swallow.
“There is an electrode that you place close to the muscles you want to look at and the biofeedback on the screen shows us what they are doing,” explained Erin Breckenridge, a speech language pathologist at Autumn Care.”
“The [University of Mississippi] School of Education is using a program that allows teachers-in-training to practice classroom skills in a virtual setting before sending them into local elementary and secondary schools.
The simulated TeachLivE classroom consists of an 80-inch monitor with five student avatars. Each avatar has his or her own personality.”
“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.”
“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”.