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Virtual Reality: A Fast Vacation Getaway

Virtual Reality: A Fast Vacation Getaway

The idea of a virtual reality vacation has been a science fiction staple for decades.  Thanks to improving technology, however, a virtual reality vacation will soon be something that you can actually experience.  Using your smartphone, it’s possible to go on a mini vacation to virtually wherever you want.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality is a system of software and hardware that produce images, sounds, and other stimuli to simulate reality.  This means that a person using VR devices will feel as if he or she is part of a different place and/or time than what they are actually a part of.  Typically, virtual reality requires a simulated three-dimensional world that a person can interact with.

Interaction between a person a virtual reality world can take place in many forms.  One of the most common methods of incorporating a user into a virtual world is through the use of virtual reality goggles.  This device can detect the movements of a user and translate them into changes in the visual data being shown to the user.  Essentially, this allows the user to experience the sensation of looking around the virtual world in the same way he or she would look around the real world.   More advanced technologies are also capable of providing tactile stimulation, such as force feedback from a video game controller.

As a consumer, I find VR to be extremely useful. When the Chicago weather gets grey and cold, the portable headset can seemingly transport my mind to far away places. Just seeing a sunny beach or colorful park seems to elevate my spirits. It will be interesting to see more psychological research on how VR can help those with mental illness during the coming years.

How Virtual Reality Gear is Used with Smart Phones

Although many people tend to think of large, full-body technology when it comes to virtual reality, several companies have recently introduced devices and software that make it possible to experience virtual reality with your smartphone.  In the most basic cases, smartphones can be inserted into a fairly inexpensive set of glasses that block out external stimuli.  The smartphone is then able to use the movement of the user to allow him or her to “look” around a virtual world that has been recorded with a 360 degree camera.

While the virtual reality provided by a smartphone is only able to simulate sights and sounds, it’s also one of the most affordable and far-reaching uses of the technology.  Not only is it possible for anyone with a smartphone to experience virtual reality, it is also possible to cheaply and efficiently share thousands of different experiences.

Virtual Reality TherapyVirtual Reality is Now Affordable

Because of the widespread availability of smartphone technology, many companies have start to explore the many uses of virtual reality.  Already manufacturers and retailers have used the technology to simulate walking through a store, trying out different products, and even train consumers how to assemble, fix, and modify their products.

One of the more interesting uses of this technology, however, is the ability to use virtual reality as a form of therapy.  Many people are starting to use their smartphone to virtually visit vacation destinations such as the beach or the mountains.  In fact, it’s possible to use short stints of virtual reality to relieve stress or become calm before a big event.

It may even be possible to use virtual reality in other therapies.  There are currently studies being performed that are looking at the effect of using virtual reality simulations of traumatic events to treat PTSD.  There is good research that Virtual Reality therapy may be used to help with depression, anxiety, stress and other mood disorders.  This technology would allow a user to experience an event while knowing that he or she was physically safe, thereby allowing him or her to process emotions in a healthy way.  There is also the possibility of using virtual reality to help people with social anxiety disorders to practice interacting with common daily scenarios with the knowledge that these interactions were completely controlled.

Virtual reality is quickly becoming a common and affordable technology.  As a society, however, we are only starting to realize what we can do with it. Feel free to talk to our Chicago Therapist about using VR as a recreational escape. Thanks for reading this article from Anxiety Therapist Chicago.