The world of virtual reality has been growing exponentially. There was a time when we would associate VR with Games and entertainment only but in this article, I am going to show you how VR is disrupting and growing in health care. Here are 10 mind-blowing benefits of VR growing roots in the health industry.
Bringing sight back to eyes through virtual reality is one of the most profound examples of fighting eye diseases and low vision problems with VR, because other than this it is either an invasive or painful eye surgery, or a long list of expensive treatments and medications.
IrisVision, is a VR product created by Dr. Frank Werblin and team CitrusBits. By using IrisVision, patients get an almost full restoration of their sight, without losing any awareness of the real world around them. They get to see and recognize faces that would once appear blurry or hazed out. Not only that, IrisVision addresses various other low vision problems as well like adjustment to different light intensities, watching TV from a good distance, Reading without any help etc.
By design, IrisVision is Virtual reality headset paired with a smartphone. So it’s easy to use as well. People having macular degeneration, optic nerve damage and other such low vision conditions are prime candidates for benefitting from this technology.
In the face of heart breaking, money sucking and painful eye conditions, IrisVision is a savior riding the virtual reality magic carpet.
2: Osso VR
Surgery training is another very impressive benefit of Virtual reality in the health sector. It makes so much sense as well. Medical is not just expensive for patients but it is for the practitioners as well. The cost of practice is equal to the cost of actual surgeries, because of that not everyone gets the same level of exposure and the same learning rate.
Osso VR is a medical training platform that offers training for medical staff of all skill levels, from surgeons to any member of the medical staff.
It allows professionals to practice with sensitive surgery procedures with very precise hand-based interactions in an immersive training environment.
I don’t need to explain how this helps –
A VR environment instead of reality, cuts down on the costs associated with using actual cutting-edge procedures and technology, freely administer and experiment expensive medications. Most importantly, test new techniques and procedures without any margin of harming the patient.
Safer for both, the patient and the surgeon.
MindMaze leverages the mirror technique in one of their VR products called MindMotion, to help traumatized patients recover some damaged bodily function.
Let’s me elaborate with an example: A patient with a paralyzed left arm could learn to move and feel their arm by using MindMotion. Sounds promising, right?
Patients wear sensors and are shown a screen in which a simulation of using that damaged limb runs.
In this particular case, the movement of the right arm is mapped and shown to the patient as a movement of their left arm. Using VR in this way, it is hoped to improve the neural network of the patient, in turn increasing the chances of recovering the lost/damaged functionally faster. This is particularly helpful for Parkinson’s patients, amputees and stroke victims but that’s not it. – Imagine learning a new skill?
It’s like teaching your brain to do something (new or old) in a fun and immersive way.
4: Pain Relie VR
Created by AppliedVR, Pain Relie VR, evident from the name, is a pain relieving VR experience. AppliedVR is an organization known to help patients with their journey through a painful experience by developing and acquiring validated therapeutic VR content and making it easily accessible for everyone.
Pain Relie VR is a VR visualization that is administered via Samsung gear VR goggles. It acts like a virtual distraction for patients undergoing a painful or scary procedure. They offer a range of 20 various immersive scenarios which patients can use to indulge in different games, guided relaxation, travel, nature, and music.
A different approach than conventional virtual ‘Aids’, AppliedVR is reported to have shown great results in clinical trials.
5: Common Ground VR by ISO Bar
A VR game that benefits the sick community by increasing empathy and awareness on their conditions. Common ground puts you in the shoes of someone with a disability, a disease or any medical condition. It’s like putting a normal person on the same ‘common ground’ as someone with a medical condition. However, a brief moment, you get to experience what it is like to shop with macular degeneration or breathe with an asthma condition.
This not only helps in increasing empathy and care towards patients, but also shines light on the kind of help and assistance required by patients. Their pain points, tasks that require more help, things that even they themselves cannot express accurately.
Common ground by Isobar is a brilliant use of VR benefitting the Health industry!
6: Virtually Better
Virtually Better is a pioneering VR company that was founded in 1996. They offer a range of various VR therapies for conditions like anxiety disorders, specific phobias or PTSD. This technology allows clinicians to circumvent many of the challenges associated with other types of exposure therapy; treat problem areas that most clinicians simply lack the resources to effectively treat.
Virtually Better products are a result of psychologists and technologists working together to fill the healthcare gap with latest VR technologies that are geared towards improving Behavioral health and that too, partnered with some of the leading research centers like Harvard, University of Houston and more.
Some amazing Virtually Better applications are shown in this video
7: Psious VR Treatment
Another VR benefit for the behavioral health sector.
Psious, a Spanish and American behavioral health technology company, offers unique treatment for psychological conditions such as fear of flying, needles, various animals, public speaking, general anxiety or agoraphobia.
Basically, Psious is an online platform designed for mental health care. Designed by psychologists for psychologists, it helps in conducting therapy sessions, improves clinical treatment for patient and the clinician as well. How does it do that?
With the help of VR, patients are put in situations which causes a rush of fear and anxiety, of course under the supervision of a professional. Their task is to face their fears and gradually let them go, while their imagination is helped by VR. By offering psychologist a ‘therapist’s control panel’ a shared scene to view what the patient is viewing, a Biofeedback measurement and sensors to analyze what the patient is feeling. This is particularly helpful in identifying what are the stimuli and triggers for that person.
Until now, the results of using Psious are more than encouraging!
Another very fun use of VR targeting a problem more than half of Americans are battling with,
Is exercising to stay healthy.
In a report by the CDC (center for disease and control prevention) it was suggested that around 40% of adult Americans fall under the category of obese. A new research also predicts that by the age of 35, 57% of the children today will be obese.
VirZOOM feels like a great shot at beating these odds.
It is a specialized VR gaming system powered by peddling on a bicycle. Yea, you heard me right!
Think of a bike with a VR headset while playing games.
The idea behind VirZOOM is: the speed of peddling on the bike determines the speed with which you move in the VR world. There are sensors on the bike that connect the speed of peddling with the speed of movement in the VR game. Along with other controls like a trigger and action buttons, there is a heart rate sensor, through which you can keep tabs on your health progress.
Currently compatible with Oculus rift, HTC vive and Play station VR, VirZOOM is a redefining health and fitness in the most fun and healthy way.
9: Eye Play the Piano
Eye play the piano is a collaborative project between the University of Tsukuba’s special needs education school for the physically challenged and FOVE, an eye tracking virtual reality headset.
Together they did an amazing job creating a Universal Piano experience for disabled people.
It gives them the freedom of expression to play piano without the use of hands or arms.
One wonders how do people actually use it then? That is where the VR headset comes in.
FOVE provides the eye tracking feature which is then translated onto the piano keystrokes.
By blinking on different panels, shown to the person wearing the headset, that eye movement is translated into assigned keystrokes. There are two modes to play in, Monotone and chorde.
Eye play the piano is yet another amazing way VR is benefitting the health sector.
There can be no enough surgery aiding Virtual systems. With so many pressures that come with being a surgeon, holding up immense amount of knowledge and being on 100% at all times makes the job even harder. ImmersiveTouch makes practicing and training very easy for med students and professionals. It provides a VR imaging platform that enables surgeons to see, feel and experience various surgeries with extreme precision and improves patient outcomes.
When a surgeon prepares for a complex brain surgery, the MRI/CT scans of the patient can be uploaded into an ImmersiveTouch’s cloud, then reconstructed into 3D VR. This allows the surgeon to rehearse or teach various surgeries freely, without fearing any consequences incurred by even the slightest mistake. Surgeons can really get a full feel of the patient’s anatomy because this VR platform replicates the complete makeup of the patient’s anatomy.
These are only few benefits that Virtual reality brings to the Health industry. There are countless others and more are still to come. VR as a frontier technology will continue to disrupt the healthcare ecosystem along with other industries.