As promised here is a very personal view of VR - from the outset I think VR has a few flaws - and much prefer AR strategies,,, We are still testing it though and trying to involve it in our mixed reality strategy....
Definition of Virtual Reality taken from the new SSIH Healthcare simulation dictionary.
VR = The use of computer technology to create an interactive three dimensional world in which the objects have a sense of spatial presence; virtual environment and virtual world are synonyms for virtual reality (M&S Glossary). • A computer-generated three-dimensional environment that gives an immersion effect.
Virtual reality (VR) takes the user to an entirely new environment, computer-generated or filmed, through a headset, whereas augmented reality (AR) shows a computer generated image interacting with the physical objects around it through a screen, a projection or headset. Or as we do - projected onto the walls ! (Reverse Augmentation)
For this post I’ll mostly be focusing on VR. and will cover AR in the next blog..
I am afraid I believe VR still has a few issues
Only one person at a time can usually see the image... because each headset is separate, this tends to reduce the opportunity to collaborate (an essential skill in most of healthcare.)
Think about it... A lot of our work is about us seeing the same thing, and communicating with our colleagues - conveying emotion and empathy with our eyes, body language etc.
With VR - its very difficult to see the same thing as your colleague.. its very difficult to share an experience with a completely blacked out headset attached to our eyes.
VR may have a use in exploring areas of anatomy - or environmental / situational awareness, but it may not be much use for group education / day to day education - compared with AR and Mixed reality strategies which better allow for collaboration.
As an educator I cannot see exactly what you can see - Each headset is not usually connected to another - so as educators we often struggle to control the student experience...
We don't really know that our student experienced what we wanted them to experience.
"I feel sick.. Nausea and wearing of Headsets is an issue
When you read all of the science associated with VR they try to explain how our eyes work - to see things well we need convergence and focus.
When we are wearing a VR headset we have an image just inches away from our eyes - which has been designed to look as though it is many feet away...
That causes confusion to our brains...
'Am I Hallucinating?'
I must have eaten a 'magic mushroom'
For the moment there are drawbacks with VR that maybe don't exist as much in Augmented Reality solutions - because we can often 'see through' the headset. But we shouldn't write off VR just yet.
What are the types of virtual reality products on the market at the moment?
The majority of devices available on the market come in the form of head mounted displays. Here are a few of the more commonly used ones:
A virtual reality headset with integrated headphones and rotational tracking, it is targeted at consumers and requires connection to a high-end PC in order to work.
I've used Oculus and it is effective for gaming...
For those wanting a more immersive experience and want to use VR without the aid of an expensive PC, this VR headset connects to your PlayStation 4 via a cable and isn’t phone-based.
I've recently invested in the PS4 in a hope of better establishing my educational use of VR
A VR headset that is connected to a high-end PC tower via a cable. So far it’s been used for mainly gaming but this is likely to change over the coming years.
The vive has many links to haptic feedback devices - a big plus.
As a wearer of glasses, and having recently trialled the Vive, this device does not allow for focus adjustments, making the experience blurry since my glasses need to be removed prior to use.
One of the most lo-fi VR options, Google Cardboard is a foldout VR viewer made of cardboard that a user slots their smartphone into. It is intended to encourage development in VR applications given its low cost.
Google cardboard camera allows users to make their own VR videos.
I love the concept of google cardboard and cardboard camera - affordable fun experiences - easy to build content and give a simple experience. A big tick!
Samsung Gear VR
Uses your smartphone and has been promoted as a never seen before entertainment experience, offering 360 degree videos, photos and gaming.
How could virtual reality be used in different industries?
VR and AR have potential to change the way we live, often promising a future straight out of a sci-fi novel. But will that promise ever be fulfilled?
Well, I guess excitement over the future of VR/AR is certainly still going strong: it is said that 65% of UK businesses planned to use VR in the future.
Learning and development professionals in particular, are excited about it’s application to learning. For a sector that can often move quite slowly, products like VR/AR offer new and exciting ways to deliver learning; early use suggests that technical training, events, health and safety and on-boarding/induction could all be possible areas to consider when it comes to VR. Virtual walk around your new environment.
In paramedic education we use VR for checking scenes and for aspects of our anatomy teaching, but at the Academy of Professional Development we prefer to work with content that can be cross platform - VR Headset, AR Classroom, IPad or computer / phone review.
We are developing interactive elements and ways of capturing affordable experiences from VR.
VR holds possibilities for other sectors of Healthcare too, let’s have a look at just a few of them:
There are many ways VR is being used in healthcare, but some of the most interesting fall into the remit of : practicing
You don’t normally get practice runs when it comes to healthcare, or at least the practice runs aren’t especially realistic.
This especially true when it comes to surgery, or invasive procedures - which is tricky when students need to have a thorough understanding of standard procedures and experienced professionals need to learn new or high-risk procedures regularly. This is where VR comes in: using virtual models of humans and VR surgeons are able to get a much more realistic experience of what it might be like to work on a real person.
First do no harm... Perfect practice makes perfect VR also presents new ways for healthcare to become more connected. For instance VR has been used to offer window into surgery, which allows you to view surgery live from all over the world – almost as if you’re in the room. Live VR streaming has been successful recently - by Dr Shafi Ahmed
VR and CPD / Statutory and Mandatory training
Work training all too often is dull for employees: it involves clicking through some dodgy animations and trying to trick the timing system into thinking you’ve spent the right amount of time doing an exercise. It has become a tick box exercise rather than a real world learning opportunity.
This is a shame...
Some E'learning / Training it might involve sitting through an out of date video or series of lectures. And for employers it can often be expensive and difficult to organise.
We've been busy experimenting with addressing all of these concepts for Paramedic education, and I guess the constraints of VR make it a strategy that we don't use very often. We are still experimenting and developing VR content - but for cross platform delivery.
VR is being studied for its use in PTSD, VR is being used as a distraction therapy for pain relief and many other clinical uses are being trialled - these will be subject to a separate blog post.
Thanks to mr Will Cranmer for his Technical Support and knowledge. And David Salt and Chris Porter for their ability to generate amazing content.
The next article will look at some of the AR / Mixed reality methods - how they are employed, and how these can be used for simulation / Paramedic education.
I will be in Orlando at IMSH next week - so lets see what the new world of simulation can offer.