WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY?

The VR (Virtual Reality) is a term that means devices to simulate an environment by the machine (computer) digitally. Depending on the technologies used, it allows the user to experience a virtual universe through his different senses: sight most often but also touch, hearing, smell.

The virtual reality allows a person to live an immersion experience and lead a senso-motor activity in an artificial world. To guarantee total immersion, the user uses a virtual reality headset. This uses the principle of the stereoscopic 3D display to place the viewer in a virtual world generated by a machine.

VIRTUAL REALITY: A NOT SO RECENT STORY

When we talk about virtual reality today, we quickly think of VR headsets, which are becoming more and more popular in a wide range of sectors: video games, real estate, industry, events. As we have seen, virtual reality includes, in reality, all technologies immersing a user in an artificial environment, whatever the meaning involved.

The first virtual reality machine is attributed to Morton Hellig and his “Sensorama” machine. This device, dating from 1956, allows the user to experience effects involving several senses (touch, smell, hearing, etc.). Several similar devices will emerge later but will remain purely experimental.

It was not until the early 90s’ to see the appearance of the first virtual reality headsets as we know them today. NASA first gives the first impulse in the realization of VR headsets thanks to research programs that will allow a multitude of progress in this area. The interaction was then made through a haptic system (by touch).

Present applications of Virtual Reality

Nowadays, Virtual Reality is in full development, and it is that every time it has a greater effect in all types of sectors such as construction. Who has not wanted to see and tour a home before acquiring it? VR allows you this and more. Here are some of the applications:

  1. Virtual Reality applied to Medicine

It serves as training for doctors. It allows for multiple repetitions of surgery to avoid mistakes. In Physiotherapy, it can be used so that exercises whose treatment is long and repetitive are performed in a fun way with Virtual reality.

In the treatment of phobias, fears, and even in post-traumatic stress disorders, Virtual Reality allows the patient to be placed, gently and under control, in the environment that affects them. In the same way, it will enable us to overcome addictions by putting people in situations where the addictive object is offered and training the rejection of them.

  1. Virtual Reality applied to Education

Virtual Reality gives you the possibility of “traveling” without moving from class to any time and place, even inside the human body, making the teaching richer and much more fun and entertaining.

It is also about instilling values ​​(immersive education) that, thanks to Virtual Reality, can be encouraged in a very positive way, such as empathy (so that students may feel similar to other social groups).

  1. Virtual Reality applied to the military sector

Through Virtual Reality simulators, soldiers are trained in different needs, offering a fusion between the real and virtual world that increases the study of realism.

The VR simulators currently used in the military field are:

  • Flight simulators: Although they have existed for some time, the current ones are more effective thanks to the improvements made with Virtual Reality.
  • Combat simulators: Also use for the training soldiers of techniques and skills on the battlefield.
  • Mapping of the battlefield: through the data collected by drones of a war zone, 3D maps can be made so that the soldiers know the terrain before breaking into it.
  • Health training: will allow the training of doctors in possible emergency cases.
  • Water vehicle simulators: They are starting to be used to reinforce soldiers in submarines without needing to be underwater.

FUTURE OF VIRTUAL REALITY

Virtual Reality is one of the technologies with the greatest growth projection. According to the latest predictions for IDC Research, the investment in virtual Reality will be multiplied by 21 in the next four years, reaching 15,500 million euros in 2022. Besides, both technologies will be key in the digital transformation plans of companies, whose spending in this area will exceed in 2019 that of the consumer segment. In this sense, it is expected that in 2020 more than 50% of the large European companies will have VR and AR (Augmented Reality) strategy.

Today, the market demands applications that go beyond leisure, tourism, or marketing, and that is more affordable for users. Virtual interfaces must also be improved to avoid defects such as clipping, which makes certain solid objects appear to pass through. Or minimize the effects that VR produces in the body, including the so-called motion sickness, which consists of dizziness that is induced by the mismatch between the movement of our body and the vision of the virtual world. In future virtual reality also use in our daily lifestyle.

What is the Brain computer interface?

A brain computer interface (BCI) designates a direct connection system between a brain and a computer, allowing an individual to perform tasks without going through the action of the peripheral nerves and muscles. This type of device makes it possible to control by thought a computer, a prosthesis, or any other automated system, without requiring its arms, hands or legs. The concept dates back to 1973 and the first human trial date from the mid-1990s. 

History and Present Use

The first fundamental brainstorming steps were already taken at the beginning of the last century with the invention of the electroencephalogram, Hans Berger. The first successful recording of a human electroencephalogram was in 1924. But it will be several years, however, until this technique is well developed, and even more, until one conceives of the idea of ​​creating a communication system that utilizes the recorded brain activity.

Perhaps the first time the concept of ​​an interactive communication system between the human brain and computers was heard was with the ARPA program in the USA. Immediately after the development of the first computers in the early 1970s, ARPA had set out to create an interactive brain-computer communication system capable of enhancing human cognitive and motor skills.

We are still at the beginning of research on the brain-computer interface. Given that research in these areas is progressing rapidly, we should not be surprised if we begin to see its practical applications in our daily lives. And indeed, this technology can find suitable ground in many different fields, both medically and practically. 

Researchers’ first concern is to develop practical applications that can be used by patients with severe neurological and other physiological problems, such as quadriplegia, amputated limbs, blindness or severe vision loss, multiple sclerosis, or locked-in syndrome. The goal is for these patients to be able to recover at least some of their lost functionality through applications that allow them to communicate with their environment or – as in the case of “bionic eyes” and artificial limbs – to some extent, replace a damaged organ. 

Imagine people who have suffered one of the most severe forms of stroke, the one in the brain stem, as a result of which they cannot move any muscle of their body beyond their eyes. These patients may now be able to find a small way of communicating with their environment. Or think of our blind fellow citizens who may in the not-too-distant future be able to have some elementary vision and move more easily in space.

Future of Brain-computer interface

Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) become reliable technology materials, changing the lives of patients or those people who can not speak. Brain-computer interfaces innovation can be used to translate thought-to-text or to monitor the gestures of the prosthetic limb.

Numerous research teams are working on the development of Brain-computer interfaces intended for the manipulation of exoskeletons, support devices intended for totally paralyzed people, in order to allow them to get up, move around and perform different movements. But many other applications are envisaged: controlling a wheelchair or a limb prosthesis, making a computer speak or write. Researchers in the United States have already succeeded in obtaining remote control of a robotic arm by quadriplegics.

Article author: ridabatool552 (Fiverr.com)

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