From games to entertainment a formation, Georgian companies have been driving the VR / AR space over the years.
Now, two different Georgia universities are using RV to improve our health and well-being, which is estimated to be $ 11 billion by 2026.
We learned of a Georgia Tech graduate who marketed a virtual reality meditation program to address critical mental health deficiencies and the team that launched a SCAD initiative to help hospital attendees.
ZenVR: Make mental health more accessible from the classroom and beyond
A Start-X startup takes a “zen” approach as it enters the fast-moving virtual reality space.
Matthew Golino he earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Georgia Tech and previously worked as a software engineer for General Motors. During this class work on the HCI program, he explains to Hypepotamus that his interest in “virtual reality as an emerging medium converges” with his experience in meditation.
Meditation, he said, became a more central part of his life during his graduate work. Throughout his dissertation, Golino spoke with expert and novice meditators in order to better understand how the practice of meditation is taught and learned.
The result was eight meditation lessons taught entirely through VR, with the proper name of ZenVR.
15 Georgia Tech students used VR technology and educational modules during the prototyping phase.
“We had people coming in twice a week to teach for 20 to 30 minutes. And at the end of the year, we observed these statistically significant increases in a number of mental health metrics. Many of the master’s projects end here … but given my personal interest, I thought this could have an impact.
After completing the Create-X program last year, the team joined Oculus Start Program.
ZenVR can now be downloaded at Oculus Quest Store.
SCAD VRx Immersive Therapy: VR Tech for Good
To Teri Yarbrow, Professor of Immersive Reality at SCAD, a new VRx immersive therapy program on campus is a combination of academic and personal passions.
“I am an evangelist of virtual reality “, Yarbrow explains to Hypepotamus. “I have been working with Hospice Savannah and the Steward Center of Palliative Care for over two years. It started with a woman with pancreatic cancer in stage 4 who wanted to skydive as a request for bucket list. He was too sick to parachute, so we brought him skydiving using VR. It was quite liberating for her how to jump off a plane and skydiving is a great metaphor for letting go and embracing the experience at the end of life. ”
As SCAD grew its truly immersive BFA program, tangible applications took center stage. While students in the class were introduced to the role of virtual reality in commercial, architectural, fashion, gaming, engineering, experimental, and medical fields, Yarbrow says students were especially attracted to medical opportunities.
To date, 18 students on campus have participated in the project, which leverages RV to relieve pain, reduce patient anxiety, and provide a positive commitment for hospice patients. SCAD has created three unique experiences:
- “Lumino”, a meditative experience set in a grassy forest that blurs into the mountains illuminated by light worms and northern lights
- “The Spirit of Africa”, a passive experience with interactive elements, designed for patients with brightly colored beds and exotic animals
- “Feed the birds,” a quiet experience that encourages movement.
“Virtual reality has been shown to be effective in reducing pain, anxiety, stress, depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s and improving quality of life. For those in palliative care or hospice who are bedridden or confined to wheelchairs, this can be quite miraculous and can improve life. Our students visit patients at Hospice Savannah and Hospice Home Care. Based on the patient’s condition and specific requests, they implement virtual reality experiences, ”adds Yarbrow.
Yarbow adds that he sees emerging opportunities to further take this technology out of the classroom. “The FDA has now validated immersive virtual reality therapy with a designation: Medical Extended Reality, MRX. This will create many professional opportunities. Our goal is for SCAD to be a leader in the emerging field of immersive health and, with an understanding of all facets of the design process and professional experiences even before graduation, our students will be at the forefront of the creation the next generation of immersive medical experiences ”.
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