The vast number of advances that we have seen being made in technology over the last few years has ultimately given rise to virtual reality’s period of rejuvenation, which has allowed developers from all over the world the opportunity to maximise its current potential.
This has essentially made sure that VR gets used in a wide range of different areas as opposed to the gaming world alone, with therapy being a great example of an area that we can identify VR as a tool for us to use in the future.
That said, one of the most interesting examples of innovation and forward thinking in VR has got to be in the fact that there is a research team that has set out to use the technology as a way to treat gambling addictions.
The VR Revival
While it may be a little hard to believe, considering virtual reality’s current popularity, it was not that long ago that the world of VR was considered to be a bit of a joke to many. However, at a time when smaller, sleeker design was all the rage it’s not that big of a surprise that chunky headgear and unrealistic programs were a bit of a laughing stock amongst online and mobile gamers.
The features that were originally offered were far from even being close to a virtual reality, and it was all too awkward and pointless for us to truly admire – that is until 2010 saw Palmer Luckey, an entrepreneur from the United States, create the very first prototype of the now well-known Oculus Rift.
This was ultimately the basis for the next generation of virtual reality headsets to revolutionise the market, and in 2013, Valve brought forward the ground-breaking low-persistence displays that opened the floodgates to the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, HTC Vive and Samsung Gear.
Uses of Virtual Reality
When it comes to the uses of VR, a large majority of the media has spent its time concentrating on displaying the advancements within the gaming sector of VR; however, this form of technology stretches across a number of uses and is not simply limited to the gaming industry.
The other uses for VR include the likes of training, education, fitness and sports, engineering, architecture, marketing, music and therapy, and of course, playing hyper realistic casino games. The last area mentioned is the one that appears to have the most promise for virtual reality, with treating addiction at the forefront.
Led by their founder, Stephane Bouchard, a team at Cyberpsychology Laboratory at Universite du Quebec has been developing a program that ultimately utilises VR technology in order to help individuals that suffer or show signs of a gambling addiction.
In fact, for the past 18 years, Bouchard has been involved in the research of possible benefits that could come from therapeutic VR treatment. He believes that virtual reality offers a successful means to place patients in a safe environment that they can recreate the cravings that they face in addiction without actually subjecting themselves to real and potentially dangerous hardships.
VR ultimately allows the patients in question to experience the environment that tests their addiction and therefore gives a far more accurate indication of how well they progress during treatment.
What the Future Holds
With therapists essentially having the power to control the environment that they put their patients into – a quality severely lacking from those with addiction problems – they can adjust triggers like sights and sounds to accommodate the addiction.
With VR continuing to make advances, in terms of technology, benefits and uses, it is expected to play a far bigger role in therapeutic treatments for addiction.