07.07.2015

Virtual reality aims to revolutionize medicine

Image | Medelita

Virtual reality has opened up a wide range of possibilities that go far beyond enjoying video games. Thanks to this technology, which is often available on mobile devices and allows one to feel and experience virtual worlds, medicine could undergo a real revolution.

MHealth and its investors have already had a warm reception. We needn’t look further than Psious, a company that helps psychological problems through virtual reality treatments that has recently received a round of funding of more than $1 million (over 900,000 euros).

In this article, we will focus on the techniques employed by a company formerly called Phobius, which began in Barcelona. They have developed software to treat phobias by confronting them directly with a smartphone, using virtual reality goggles that can recreate the situations that frighten patients.

This is just one of the possible uses of virtual reality that can help heal and alleviate suffering for patients.

Treatments for pain, autism and operations

Virtual reality technology can also help with precisely the opposite: it helps some patients to forget the severe pain they suffer from through the use of entertainment. One example is that of an enhanced reality game developed by the University of Washington, which consists of throwing snowballs at penguins and was created by US startup DeepStream VR.

Virtual reality also allows training to be as realistic as possible – and uses less resources. It can help people with autism improve their social skills, for example by helping people prepare for certain situations they will encounter such as job interviews or blind dates.

Doctors can also benefit from the advantages of virtual reality since it is possible to perform surgical training with devices based on this technology, as they do at Stanford University.

Thus, the potential applications of virtual reality in a hospital environment are such that the development of specialized devices (beyond the famous Oculus Rift) and applications focused on the health world are already beginning to have a significant weight in the sector. And best of all, it seems that this particular race has only just begun.