The usages of the virtual reality in the medical field

Virtual Reality

The words Virtual  Reality (VR) is been used for the first time by Jaron Lanier in the 1989. It’s an oxymoron that puts together two words which come respectively from the worlds of the “real” existence and the “virtual” not extistence one.

In this way the result that we have is the one to immerse a person into the heart of the action, by involving all the five senses and creating a simulated environment.

Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality

Characteristics of the Virtual Reality

It is focused on the management of three topics: the space, the time and the interaction. With the addition of a graphic interface it can give the feeling to be in the reality, the person will have the feeling to really be in that situation and to interact with it.

From this short explaination we can deduce the two main characteristics that the virtual reality and so the virtual environment needs to have:

  1. Feeling to be in that situation. To obtain this target there are many technological instrumentation: it’s enough to think to the software used to create three dimensional environments, to the viewers and to the audio systems that give the surround;
  2. Interaction with the body movements, which donates the increasing of the feeling to grab objects, avoid obstacles, etc. In this case we reference to cyber-gloves, joypad, virtual arms, etc.
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality

Kinds of Virtual Reality

Even for the virtual reality there are many levels according to the involvment degree that it can give to the user. At the moment there are three of them:

  1. Augmented Reality (AR): which gives the possibility to overlap the virtual images, created by a computer, to the real reality, with the increasing of informations about a specific scenario.
  2. Not Immersive Virtual Reality (desktop RV): in this case it doesn’t born by a real involvment’s sense because the environment isn’t felt as realisitic.
  3. R. V. Immersive (RVI): is the one that gives a higher feeling of involvment in the space and in the “fake” reality, thanks to the possibility to interact with the virtual environment.

Virtual Reality and Medicine

The virtual reality is one of the biggest promises that are been made since the informatic’s birth. It’s hard to imagine the limits that this sector could have. At the beginning of the last decade, we even believed that this would become the dominant medium between all the others, and then disappeared and be forgotten by all.

In the last years, by the way, especially with the release of the Samsung Gear VR (which happened together with the realese of the Galaxy S7 Edge), it comes back. According to the estimations of some researche’s companies, in the 2016 the turnover come from the viewers’ commerce reached the 2,3 billions of dollars.

The number of devices in the world is 9,6 millions. It is estimated that in the future, they will increase of the 180% until the 2020, with the achievement of a devices’ number of 64,8 billions.

Realtà Virtuale
Samsung Gear VR

It is a sector that can find a place not only in the gaming and intertainment’s world, but even and especially in the scientific world: first of all is the medicine one. The sectors where it can really give a strong support are three.

Let’s think about the fields of the rehabilitation (both if it is motor or cognitive), of the therapy in the case of mental diseases and, not less, of the field of the learning that will become easier in a simulated environment.

The future of the medicine

The future of the medicine is ever more technological. Nowadays the virtual reality is only in a experimentation phase, but it’s wonder that in the future it will be normal in the medicine.

Infact, if until now the main obstacle for the cybertherapy spread was the price, now this problem is getting solve. There is a prices’ range ever more competitive.

This post is also available in: itItaliano

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