“I can set off a vehicle-born IED”. Dr Skip Rizzo, clinical psychologist at the University of Southern California, pushes a button on his keyboard to detonate a virtual car bomb in a computerised simulation of an Afghan market.
Wearing the much talked about “Oculus” headset, his accomplice Gary Marcus looks to his right to see a military jeep in flames, heeding two digital casualties thrown from the blast. Rizzo is demonstrating “Bravemind”, a virtual reality-based exposure therapy designed for returning soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
With a consumer version of Oculus on the horizon, it’s not difficult to envision the application of virtual reality based therapies being utilised in clinics around the globe.
It seems, therefore, that internet-based technology will continue to do for patients what it has already done for consumers in other fields: address the information imbalance between expert and customer, thus empowering patients to make educated decisions and take control of their own health care.
In the words of Dr. Rizzo, “the technology has finally caught up with the vision” – your future health will be quite literally in your own hands.”
By Conor Toale, Contributing Writer at University Times