PSFK takes a look at how companies are leveraging VR to improve our minds and bodies
As time passes, the potential of virtual reality continues to be explored. On one hand, virtual reality was once considered the future of the film industry, but it is still expensive to create and disperse. On the other hand, it has undeniably changed the entertainment industry by providing gamers with an immersive experience like never before. Despite numerous pros and cons, it is undeniable that VR experiences are rapidly evolving. What started off with expensive headgear and limited experiences has now expanded into something more—and now virtual reality has the potential to impact the world of health and wellness.
PSFK rounded up the top four examples of how VR is aiming to improve our health.
Providing accessibility to services that might have been unattainable
A company in Israel has started offering physical therapy through virtual reality, allowing patients to do exercises at home and make it pretty exciting. Instead of simply doing the same mindless motion, VRPhysio allows patients to don a VR headset to go into another world and fill barrels with water. The whole experience makes physical therapy exercises feel more meaningful and engaging. Also, it may be a means to save money on what can be a pricey visit. VR also makes it possible to track the progress of patients by measuring movements.
Making workouts more exciting and immersive
VR can even be incorporated into workout machines, making the experience a lot more enjoyable. Startup Icaros gets users to put on a VR headset while on an exercise machine. Participants work out while diving underwater with majestic sea creatures or driving a motorcycle. The machine is quite pricey but could be perfect for people who hate the gym.
Getting people to quit smoking
MindCotine is a product that utilizes a VR headset and an app to help smokers quit smoking. It combines the power of VR and mindfulness to halt cravings for cigarettes. There are 14 steps to this program, and each one tackles on a different aspect of fighting the addiction. In the beginning, the VR experience lets you feel as though you are smoking but as the program progresses, it challenges you to fight your urges through mindfulness practices and placing you in scenarios like being invited out for a cigarette break.
Helping doctors train for surgery
London company FundamentalVR wants to increase a surgeon’s skill without endangering the lives of patients. The company aims to teach surgeons using a VR headset and a stylus. The VR goggles mimic an operating room, placing surgeons in the same environment in which they would find themselves in real life. The stylus is meant to feel like different layers of tissue, making the experience even more realistic. There’s even an opportunity for doctors to get feedback on how they performed once the exercise is completed. An algorithm analyzes the procedure and offers comments.
VR continues to improve the health and wellness experience with its immersive technology. Although simulations have existed for quite some time, VR takes it to another, intensely realistic level.
Lead Image: Woman using virtual reality headset via Shutterstock