project status: open. looking for investors and researchers
Today, VR (virtual reality) devices are widespread and affordable. With less than 5$, any smartphone can be adapted as a cheap, yet effective, VR device.
Oculus Quest and Oculus Go are great stand-alone alternatives, ranging from 180 to 400$: they offer an unique immersive experience.
VR may be useful in a wide range of conditions, expecially in rehab settings. Using dedicated APIs, Unity is a great dev platform for creating virtual environment.
3D models are created in Google Sketchup and Blender. I’m not a great 3D artist (nor an Unity expert or coder, to be honest) – but somehow I’ve managed to create some immersive 3D environment.
One example is represented by “Train (or trip) Therapy”, created by Dr. Ivo Cilesi (sadly passed away in COVID-19 pandemy). In real-life train therapy, the patient – affected by cognitive impairment – enters in a lifesize mock-up of a train compartment. A TV-set, with a pre-recorded trip, will placed behind the “window”. The patients sits on a comfy chair and looks outside the windows, enjoying the trip. This allows for an “open” mindset: patients take a trip inside their memories, while moving towards what they believe to be their home.
Since building a mockup of a train compartment can be expensive (in terms of money, time and space), a VR represents a viable alternative.
Here’s a sample of a Google Cardboard virtual setting:
VR can also be useful in treatments of anxiety disorders, like phobias.
It’s easy to reproduce a phobia-inducing setting, allowing for a slow and controlled stimuli exposition. In this example, user experiences a short trip in a windowed elevator. Claustrophobic sensation can be modulated by changing trip duration, by darkening one or more glasses and so on. 3D environment and the complete isolation from real word allows for a great depth-perception and a sense of “enclosed space”.
There are more VR settings in development. I’m looking for:
- 3D artists
to create a set of structured rehab environments (VR and augmented reality) for scientific validation and commercial purposes.