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Overview of Current Advancements in VR Technology

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After the release of Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive in 2016, the technological community has seen a growth in virtual reality products. On September 2018 Oculus released their new Oculus GO headset, which makes it even easier for customers to take their VR experience wherever they please. These products are now more affordable than ever and more accessible to the businesses and the public. In turn, they are changing the way individuals and businesses involved in the technological community play, train, and provide medical care for others.

Designed to facilitate immersion, the Oculus Rift VR headset promises to provide gamers with a lightweight adjustable headset, integrated 3d audio, and remote/sensor tracking that really puts gamers ‘inside’ their favorite games, changing the way they play. Virtual reality has long been a dream for the casual gamer. Due to their desires to re-experience their favorite games in a 3d, interactive environment, popular titles such as Skyrim, Minecraft, and DOOM have been released for VR headsets. The PlayStation Store offers 350+ VR gaming downloads, ranging in categories such as action/adventure, simulation, and casual puzzle games, offering a variety to fit a gamer’s playing style.

The ability of immersion that VR provides opens doors for businesses wanting to provide up to date training for employees. VR technology has been researched and used to train medical practitioners, engineers, pilots, and retail employees. Verizon is just one of the few businesses that has decided to use virtual reality as a training tool for retail employees and field technicians. According to Frasier Bowie, Senior Manager of Learning Technology, Riaz Uden, Associate Director of Learning Technology, and Pete Beck, Director of Global Learning Technology (2018), they weren’t interested in just trying to provide their employees with new tech toys, but did indeed feel that VR technology was valuable to their training experiences: “Through augmented and virtual reality, we are able to provide our employees with a learning environment that immerses them in the learning content and/or provides just-in-time support on the job”. With this new technology, employers hope not only to train employees about what to do on the job, but to give them the hands-on experience they need for job readiness.

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Not only is VR preparing these professionals for their future, virtual and augmented reality devices are actively being used by health professionals to improve the lives of others. For example, virtual reality has been tested and used to treat mental health disorders through exposure therapy. At the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, an academic research institute, developers in technology and social scientists work together to create immersive media for military training, health therapies, science education and more. Bravemind, one of the tools they offer that utilizes advancements in VR, was developed with the purpose of treating sufferers of PTSD, particularly military and ex-military personnel. Using virtual reality as a tool has been successful due to the inability or refusal of some PTSD patients to recall or imagine past experiences, a process necessary for exposure therapy. Bravemind allows health professionals to treat their patients in a multisensory, interactive environment that they can control, measure, and tailor to their patient’s needs.

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford is one of the first children’s hospitals to establish a comprehensive VR program. Doctors here are conducting a study of their own with a similar name, ‘Project: Brave Heart’. This study, which is being performed by Anne Dubin, MD, professor of pediatrics, and Lauren Schneider, PsyD, assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry, involves sending a VR headset home with patients between the ages of 8-25 that are scheduled for a cardiac catheterization procedure. Participants in the study will experience a virtual tour of their procedure, starting from the pre-op room and ending in recovery. Participants are also able to access relaxation programs during the simulations to reduce stress and anxiety. The goal of ‘Project: Brave Heart’ is to educated patients on the procedure while providing them with relaxation techniques that hopefully alleviate stress and anxiety about the actual procedure. In this way, virtual reality is already making strides in the medical field and improving the lives of patients.

A quick Internet search reveals numerous advancements in VR technology. It’s not just touching upon lives within the United States, but across the globe as well. Gamers, businesses, and medical professionals are only a few examples of individuals and institutions who have gained from the progress made in this technology, and hopefully gains will continue to be made into the future.

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Overview of Current Advancements in VR Technology. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/overview-of-current-advancements-in-vr-technology/
“Overview of Current Advancements in VR Technology.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/overview-of-current-advancements-in-vr-technology/
Overview of Current Advancements in VR Technology. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/overview-of-current-advancements-in-vr-technology/> [Accessed 8 Feb. 2023].
Overview of Current Advancements in VR Technology [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 01 [cited 2023 Feb 8]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/overview-of-current-advancements-in-vr-technology/
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