Friday, March 18, 2011

Virtual Realities Solely for Entertainment Sake?

There are many who have avatars in a world in a dimension known as the Virtual Reality (VR). VR is something like an online community. In this alternate cyber world, characters/people are able to buy and sell properties in their own currency, make new friends, etc., while enjoying the experience as if it were some interactive game which consist of multiple players.
Here is a video about Second Life which is a 3D Virtual Reality...

While having fun in this virtual reality may be for the average people like you and me, the concept of the VR is used to help others who are not as fortunate. For instance, the VR is utilized to aid people who are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), physiotherapy for disabled patients or those who experienced a stroke, as well as the treatment of phobias.

Using a 3D camera and specialized software that captures the patient’s image in the form of avatars. Under the guidance of professional therapists, the patients perform a series of therapeutic activities and exercises in a virtual game-like environment. Scores are then recorded to rate the patients’ performance which would allow them to assess their progresses themselves and boost their self esteems.

Moreover, it can help to increase agility in limbs and the rate of recovery of patients with stroke or those who had encountered unfortunate accidents. To add on, patients who are paralyzed neck-down can use the VR as a way to lead a "normal" life, and this system keeps their brains active and would prevent them from sinking into further depression.

This is a video which shows the effective use of the Visual Reality System by a paralyzed individual.

In addition, the VR helps individuals to conquer their fear of spiders and the horrors of war (for soldiers that is). Professor from Brunswick designed a program for people with arachnophobia (afraid of spiders) known as “Fear of Spiders” to help individuals in overcoming their fear. To add on, soldiers are mentally prepared for warfare by introducing them to games like Call of Duty, Battlefield, and so on.

A trailer from the Call of Duty where one of the soldiers seemed to be retelling his war story/experience.

In conclusion, VR is no longer used by people in just the gaming arena, rather it has been integrated to improve the quality of life for those who are ill or with problems that they are not able to overcome in reality. I sincerely believe that this system will benefit mankind in the long-run.

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