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Mace and Crown | May 24, 2018

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Virtual Reality for Fun and Therapy

Virtual Reality for Fun and Therapy
Audra Reigle
Contributing Writer

3D environments are not just for the movie theater. It can also be a part of our everyday lives through the use of virtual reality technology. Helmets and gloves can help make this a reality. However, these helmets, despite the fact that they have screens inside of them, do not adequately allow those with vision problems, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, to experience this 3D world properly.

There is a company looking to change that.

According to a Popular Science article, EyeNetra is looking to create screens that cater to a specific person’s vision requirements. This would allow them to be more user friendly. At the moment, users of virtual reality headsets have to wear their prescription glasses with the headset, and if the glasses move even slightly, they can throw off the headset’s calibration. If this happens, the user can get motion sickness and become nauseated.

While the Oculus Rift, a type of virtual reality headset, does have interchangeable lenses for those that are nearsighted, they are not as precise as prescription lenses. EyeNetra has a device that will use screens to help prescribe corrective lenses. This same technology could be used by virtual reality companies to create video feeds based on the user’s vision.

The Oculus Rift was created thanks to Oculus and Facebook. The headset is strapped over your eyes to create realistic 3D environments. The user can use their own headphones with it, as the ones the device comes with are removable. It also comes with a wireless controller that was originally meant for Microsoft’s Xbox One.

The Oculus Rift will work with Windows 10, which was just released earlier this year. While the device won’t launch until 2016, developers already have access to it. CCP Games’ “EVE: Valkyrie” and Gunfire Games’ “Chronos” are just two of the games that will be available when the Oculus Rift launches.

The project was originally on Kickstarter, but it was picked up by Facebook in August 2012. The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has painted the technology as something that could change how social networking works. That’s an endeavor for the future though, as the Oculus Rift will primarily be used for games. It will also have a 2D version that can be used without the headset.

Virtual reality isn’t just limited to video games though. It can also be used for therapy. An article by the Wall Street Journal said that virtual reality is being used to help treat post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias and anxiety in a treatment called virtual reality exposure therapy. According to researchers, it has successfully treated eating disorders, alcoholism and phobias. When the patients are placed in the 3D environment, it is in a safe, controlled place, therefore allowing them to confront their anxieties.

Oculus Rift is slated for a 2016 release, and while it may only play video games at first, that doesn’t mean it’ll be the only thing it can do. These are only a few early examples of what virtual reality can bring society in the future.