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Wellness Wednesday: Regulating E-Cigarettes, Virtual Reality to Detect Concussions, and Exercise

E-cigarettes are popular among teenagers, but now the Food and Drug Administration is making the purchase of them illegal to anyone under eighteen years old. Also, researchers are exploring the use of virtual reality to help detect sport concussions. And, new research is discovering how much exercise is enough to get results and whether or not exercise trumps nutrition when it comes to preventing obesity.

 

Image credit: radio.wosu.org

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Phantom movements in augmented reality helps patients with chronic intractable phantom limb pain

People who lose an arm or leg often experience phantom limb pain, as if the missing limb was still there. Phantom limb pain can become a serious chronic condition that significantly reduces the patients' quality of life. It is still unclear why phantom limb pain and other phantom sensations occur. Several medical and non-medical treatments have been proposed to alleviate phantom limb pain. Examples include mirror therapy, various types of medications, acupuncture, and implantable nerve stimulators. However, in many cases nothing helps. This was the situation for the 14 arm amputees who took part in the first clinical trial of a new treatment, invented by Chalmers researcher Max Ortiz Catalan, and further developed with his multidisciplinary team in the past years. "We selected the most difficult cases from several clinics," Dr Ortiz Catalan says. "We wanted to focus on patients with chronic phantom limb pain who had not responded to any treatments. Four of the patients were constantly medicated, and the others were not receiving any treatment at all because nothing they tried had helped them. They had been experiencing phantom limb pain for an average of 10 years." The patients were treated with the new method for 12 sessions....

Fighting virtual reality sickness

Columbia Engineering Professor Steven K. Feiner and Ajoy Fernandes MS'16 have developed a method of combating virtual reality (VR) sickness that can be applied to consumer head-worn VR displays, such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony PlayStation VR, and Google Cardboard. Their approach dynamically, yet subtly, changes the user's field of view (FOV) in response to visually perceived motion, as the user virtually traverses an environment while remaining physically stationary. The study showed that by strategically and automatically manipulating FOV, the degree of VR sickness experienced by participants can be significantly reduced. Furthermore, the researchers accomplished this without decreasing the participants' sense of presence in the virtual environment, and without the majority of the participants even being aware of the intervention. The study was presented at IEEE 3DUI 2016 (IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces) on March 20, where it won the Best Paper Award. "2016 is the year of VR and it's estimated that over 200 million VR headsets will be sold by 2020," says Computer Science Professor Feiner, who directs the Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Lab. "But VR sickness, which has symptoms similar to motion sickness, poses a barrier for many users of this immersive technology....

Researchers warn about psychological impact of virtual reality

London: Researchers have warned that immersion in virtual reality (VR) can cause behavioural changes in consumers that may last even after they leave the virtual environment. The technological capacity for generating virtual worlds from home computers will soon be widely available to the general public, as special head-mounted displays are brought to market that create the illusion of being immersed in virtual three-dimensional worlds. But citing recent studies, Michael Madary and Thomas Metzinger from Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in Germany said that VR may create vast opportunities for psychological manipulation - a risk that has received far less attention so far. "These studies suggest that VR poses risks that are novel, that go beyond the risks of traditional psychological experiments in isolated environments, and that go beyond the risks of existing media technology for the general public," the researchers wrote in a recently published article in the journal Frontiers in Robotics and AI. Based on their analysis of the risks, both researchers offered concrete recommendations for the use of VR. For example, in experimental work developing new clinical applications, researchers should be careful not to create false hopes in patients. They should repeatedly remind them of the merely experimental...

Adding Emotions to the VR Learning Experience

My heyday was back in the ’90s shuffling through clunky Nintendo game cartridges with a school friend as we weighed playing Duck Hunt for the umpteenth time, Donkey Kong or something else. I’d go on to spend some time with Sonic the Hedgehog — that fiery little rascal — throw some kicks around in Mortal Kombat, and make my way through this NBA basketball video game in which the big gimmick was that all the players had these outrageously-sized heads. As time went on, I played games less, but I always marvel at how they continue to evolve — the technology delivering this entertainment often pointing ahead to what’s on the horizon. Among the many capabilities today’s gaming technologies afford players is the chance to play not just virtually but also with and against people who do not have to be sitting next to them. Gaming partners can be many, many miles away, and in these environments, players can pick a character to represent them or choose something like themselves. To add another layer to the mix, it looks like some day in the future, the likenesses people introduce to the playing field — their avatars — may show their...

VIRTUAL REALITY IN NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH

Virtual reality (VR) is the technology that simulates real world experience. Using a “shoebox”-like helmet with a screen inside and Hi-Fi headphones, the technology stimulates visual and auditory systems. The headset is implemented with locomotor sensors, which allow users to interact with the artificial environment in a way similar to how we interact with real world. The multimodal sensory stimulation offers an immersive experience for users that makes people believe it is real. With VR, which serves like a teleporter in Star Trek, people can enjoy a moment of disconnectedness from reality without physically removing themselves. 2016 has been called “the year of virtual reality” (Morris, 2015). According to Google Trend, the popularity of the word “virtual reality” has been increased since 2015, and reaches its peak in 2016. What makes VR so hot? VR technology has been around for a while. In the lecture of Building Visual Worlds, students of Prof. Randy Pausch at Carnegie Mellon University have created various creative projects (highly recommend! a must see!) using virtual reality technology since 1998. What makes VR so hot in 2016 is that VR changes from something only exists in Carnegie Mellon’s class to an affordable technology that can be...

Virtual Reality in Healthcare Market to 2022 - VR in Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Surgery, Treatment for Phobia , Disabled People, Treatment of PTSD, Therapies & Treatment of Autism

Virtual Reality technology is a computer-simulated environment that can recreate sensory experiences and stimulate presence in locations that are from the real world or may be from an imagined world. It has generated tremendous excitement in the healthcare industry where the applications of virtual reality technology extend to psychiatric, training, medical practice, and among other branches of medicine as a part of alternate therapies. Depression & PTSD, surgery simulation, phobia treatment, robotic surgery and skills training are the most common situations where the use of Virtual Reality Technology has proven successful.Virtual Reality has also proven effective in treating pain by distracting the brain and reducing the need for drugs during painful and physically unpleasant treatments which reduce exposure to strong narcotics and addictive painkillers. Due to the expensive nature of this new technology, it is available in very limited parts of the world, mostly in developed countries. The demand for Virtual Reality Technology for treatments is increasing in healthcare, but expensive hardware, inadequate training of medical practitioners and lack of awareness amongst the patient population are some of the challenges faced by this market. However, the market is lucrative in the developed countries of Europe and North America though the...

Wellness Wednesday: Regulating E-Cigarettes, Virtual Reality to Detect Concussions, and Exercise

E-cigarettes are popular among teenagers, but now the Food and Drug Administration is making the purchase of them illegal to anyone under eighteen years old. Also, researchers are exploring the use of virtual reality to help detect sport concussions. And, new research is discovering how much exercise is enough to get results and whether or not exercise trumps nutrition when it comes to preventing obesity. Image credit: radio.wosu.org Source

How Virtual Reality Could Transform Mental Health Treatment

If you haven’t yet heard about Oculus Rift, chances are you soon will. Virtual reality (VR) headset technology – in the form of the Oculus and its main competitor the HTC Vive, both of which have just been launched on the consumer market – is about to make the leap into the mainstream. For the gaming industry, big bucks are in the offing. Facebook paid more than $2 billion to acquire Oculus Rift; the returns, one imagines, could swiftly dwarf that figure. VR may be about to transform gaming, but the technology dates back to the late 1960s and the so-called Sword of Damocles. Bulky and relatively unsophisticated though it was, the main elements of VR were all present in the Sword. A computer generated an image, a display system presented the sensory information and a tracker fed back the user’s position and orientation in order to update the image. For the user, sensory data from the natural world was superseded by information about an imaginary world that changed in response to their actions. The result was what you’d experience with Oculus Rift or the Vive today: a “sense of presence” in an interactive, three-dimensional virtual world. It’s difficult to...

Virtual Reality Knowledge Hub

4 Ways Virtual Reality Improves Medicine Many health care professionals consider virtual reality as first of all technology, not a technique. Such perception of VR is not surprising, because since this term was used for the first time in 1986 by the computer scientist Jaron Lanier, virtual reality has been described as a collection of technological devices: a computer, a head-mounted display, data gloves… But if we analyze various applications of VR we will notice that focus on technological devices can be changed according to the purpose of the health care provider. So, how exactly virtual reality can be used in medicine and which role does it play in various health care activities? Medical Education. Teaching most of the medicine disciplines is mainly illustrative. Through visualization of massive volumes of databases in three dimensions with the help of virtual reality application, medical students can much easier perceive information during the learning process. For instance, basic anatomy or important physiological principles can be learned and understood with the help of screen-based or virtual reality software. Imagine that you can “fly” around, in front of, behind or even inside the particular organ or the anatomy structure! Three-dimensional visualization of the human anatomy...

We Took A Virtual Walk On The Martian Surface

We Took A Virtual Walk On The Martian Surface

The Martian vistas in front of me are crisp and gorgeous. The rusty rocks remind me of the hot Arizona desert. I kneel down to examine the vibrant formations around my feet. I can imagine how the sharp edges have been smoothed out over billions of years of Martian wind. Each rock is coated with a fine gray dust, and, though the surface is chilly, looks bright and warm, as though bathed in heat from the Sun. When world-renowned scientists offer to take you on a day trip to Mars -- and promise you that you won't die -- your answer should be yes. This week, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, I strapped on a brand new science tool, called OnSight. I could breathe and walk around, and all without the burden of a bulky spacesuit and the pesky 8-month flight. JPL teamed up with Microsoft, makers of HoloLens, to create a highly accurate way of exploring the red planet without having to actually travel to Mars. Lead developer Alex Menzies explains, “The goal is to enable scientists to explore Mars just like they would explore a site here on Earth.” The OnSight system uses holographic processing...

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