VR Application Areas

 
 
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Healthcare and Medicine

The application of VR in healthcare is phenomenal. VR’s educational value extends to educating patients in the medical setting. Many people have a natural tendency to be scared to get to a hospital and get the necessary treatment. VR helps create an environment where patients can experience what it feels like to be inside a hospital before undergoing treatment.

To better understand the idea and importance of VR in healthcare, we need to understand the use of stimulation prevalent in healthcare since the 1980s. Gaba, Fish and Howard took NASA’s stimulations as an inspiration and developed a system to help train personnel on giving anaesthesia. The factor of human error was taken into consideration. Over time, different systems began to develop which took the idea of stimulation forward, thanks to technological innovation.

The greatest amount of work to date in  VR education has come to be in the area of medical procedures. Virtual reality simulators have been developed for abdominal trauma surgery,  neurosurgery, endoscopic sinus surgery, temporal bone dissection, arthroscopic surgery of the knee and shoulder.

In general, minimally invasive surgeries are easier to simulate due to limited visual and haptic feedback. The surgical field is viewed on a screen, away from the patient, and the haptic feedback is transmitted through the surgical instruments. Several of these simulators

have multiple interactive modules, including educational,  practice, and testing.

Several non-operating room invasive procedures also have been simulated using VR technology. Again, most of these use haptic as well as visual feedback, and the more advanced programs have multiple modules for education, practice, and testing. There are a few noteworthy systems that have made a positive impact in healthcare.

One system, called the Anatomic VisualizeR, is being developed at the University of California,  San Diego. This program contains several 3-D anatomic models with which a student is able to virtually dissect while simultaneously accessing other supporting 2-D resources, such as diagrams, text, and videos.  The program also allows the user to reveal the adjacent and deeper structures by adjusting the size, opacity, and orientation of the various organs. This function of the program provides the user with an extremely effective method for learning the anatomic relations of organs. Another virtual anatomy program ‘‘3D Human Atlas’’ has been developed in Japan, which facilitates the understanding of anatomic cross-sections and its relation to the anatomy of the human body.

The military has also been interested in using VR for training its medical personnel in battlefield trauma management.  A military group in Germany has produced a desktop VR program that facilitates the training of medics in casualty triage, resuscitation, and evacuation. In this system, 30 different injuries can be simulated, multiple interventions can be performed, and the condition and vital signs of the patients are dynamic and respond appropriately to the specific  injuries and interventions.

Another example is AccuVein- a scanner that projects over skin showing nurses and doctors where various veins and valves are in a patient’s body. This technology has reportedly made finding a vein on the first attempt 3.5x more likely.

The applications for VR in healthcare are practically endless, ranging from VR-powered telemedicine to “transportive” elder care. While nursing home residents enjoy travel-by-goggles, companies like Psious are also offering treatment for behavioural and mental health issues through virtual reality immersion therapy. VR can also provide the first-hand experience for doctors to communicate effectively with their patients. Newer doctors also benefit immensely from VR as they can understand the behaviour of their patients and in return have empathy for them.

VR could be part of the future of clinical psychology, it is critical to all psychotherapists that it be defined broadly. To ensure appropriate development of VR applications, clinicians must have a clear understanding of the opportunities and challenges it will provide in professional practice

VR  represents a promising area with a high potential to enhance the training of health-care professionals. Virtual Reality Training can provide an interactive, rich, engaging educational context, thus supporting experiential learning-by-doing. It can, in fact, contribute to raise interest in trainees to effectively support skills, acquisition and transfer. Other interesting applications like the development of immersive 3D environments used for training psychiatrists and psychologists in the treatment of mental disorders.




Education

Imagine seeing dinosaurs right next you or an active volcano or walking amongst legendary kings and queens. Luckily, these days, we don't necessarily have to imagine.

Today, new edtech companies are using virtual reality to bring vivid experiences like these to the classroom, which advocates highlighting the technology's ability to inspire and grab the attention of young minds.

But with limited access to such content,  how widespread could the technology become, and could it reshape how lessons are taught?

Jeremy Bailenson, a professor of communications at Stanford University and founding director of Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, has been studying VR since the late 1990s.

According to Jeremy Bailenson, a professor of communications at Stanford University and founding director of Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, VR should supplement classroom learning, not replace it. "It's about using VR to shake it up and frame the other work being done in the regular classroom," he said.

With many countries trying out the VR based content for strengthening the student’s understanding, let us look how does VR really help the kids. We have to first understand that kids of different age groups have to be shown particular kind of content to foster their understands. In other words, VR content has to be curated.

But a question arises if VR content is suitable for younger kids and yes, they are. Let us look at what VR exactly can offer with different age group of kids.

When it comes to pre-schoolers, the importance to build vocabulary and awareness of sentence structures are important and VR can help through real world experiences. Early years educators around the world offer enriching, stimulating provision to their students every day – and virtual reality gives them an additional immersive tool.

Taking pre-school children to visit a, zoo or such attractions is, of course, the perfect way to teach them about the world. But how can we extend that learning after the field trip is over and they begin to forget? VR allows children to step back inside that experience and re-live the excitement. It also offers great potential to extend their understanding. For example, now the kids can not only look at a rhino but also see how it will behave in its natural habitat.

In Elementary education, speaking skills and writing skills  show a marked improvement in students who have had the opportunity to explore a virtual environment. The immersive, sensory nature of VR improves the quality of students’ language and the effect of the experience is particularly beneficial for those students who struggle to think of what to write. Creating a context for learning is crucial for deepening understanding. Learning about the phases of the moon from a textbook works just fine for some students – but the added contextual information they can access when they are placed on the surface of the moon, looking back at Earth, is invaluable.

Immersive personal experiences simply cannot be matched in terms of information retention. The ability to re-imagine the VR experience in which you learned a new concept is incredibly powerful and is of particular benefit to students who struggle to remain focussed in a classroom.

With kids growing up, the need and demand for a dynamic education system in this fast paced world is important. WIth a world where kids have been introduced with smartphones and different gadgets, it is difficult to hold their attention in a traditional setting. But with VR, we can not only help teach the students but also develop their deeper understanding of the world around them. As  their understanding deepens, students will, in turn, have a better knowledge scope, this not only helps them in their careers later on but also help build empathy. Empathy is one of the less frequently considered benefits of VR in the classroom. The unparalleled opportunity it gives the students to truly inhabit the perspectives of others. Imagine the understanding and emotional experience a student could gain from understanding the effects of the Holocaust or the different cultures from around the world. This will not only, help make better human beings but also people with a larger emotional quotient.

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Marketing

Gone are the days when a simple billboard would sell a product, even the ever-increasing advertisements have made consumers skip them, in this ever-changing and fast-paced digital world, how do brands compete with each other? Consider a bar of chocolate which is very good but is only known in a few places in a small locality versus chocolate of a bigger company with a strong marketing team. Chances are, we will hear and would have tasted the latter. That is the power of marketing. As technology evolved, so did the standard of living and with that came different companies offering solutions or products for a better life. While these companies have strived to make their products better, many times, how a product is marketed ensures its success.

The boom of the internet has ensured that we can reach a larger base of audience, the free flow of information means also that it is tougher to grasp the attention of the audience and with features like ad blockers etc, how do brands really make their products through to the aam janta? The exciting answer is VR. You may ask why VR, there are not one but many reasons for the same.

With VR, what companies can provide their customers that other mediums cannot is a unique experience. Here, the company decides what the user will see and the audience on the other hand will have a different feeling. This helps form a deeper connection between the company and the product. Case in point, few years ago, The New York Times delivered Google cardboard glasses with a VR film to only their most loyal customers, therefore acting as an incentive for brand loyalty. The film appealed to the intellectuals and philanthropists. The two films, ‘Seeking pluto’s Frigid Heart and ‘The Displaced’ offered the users to explore the terrain of Pluto and in the latter, they got an intimate glimpse of the ways in which kids all over the world have been displaced due to war.

What is promotional activity achieved was to reinforce the brand loyalty of the customers for all the three products: the glasses, The New York Times and the films. A win-win for all!

Through VR, companies can surely block the notorious ‘ad blocker’ that are prevalent on the various applications. What VR does here is offer a way around this by creating an entire experience for the target audience to immerse themselves in. Although the whole VR experience could be an ad, it’s unique positioning, making the audience more receptive to its content.

Another reason which boosts the strength of the use of VR is the combination of the social media platforms in supporting VR. Facebook, for instance, revealed the Oculus Go, signalling its investment in VR. There are even Oculus Rooms where one can hang out with their friends in virtual rooms. With big brands associated with it, it is even more likely that the general population will quickly adopt it.

What we understand from these examples and strengths  is that this new immersive experience allows the users to connect in a new way. It also means they make the campaign a success by touching a certain level of personal experience for the audiences. Thus, today’s VR-based campaigns prove that now more than ever, innovative marketing strategies involve offering some sort of unique, immersive experience---something that touches people’s lives, and hearts, in a brand-new way.