Virtual Reality is finally starting to deliver on the hype of the last couple of years. VR expert and consultant, Omri Berg, who will be speaking at the upcoming Joy Ventures meetup “Tech. Brain. Happiness.” previews the latest technologies.
Virtual Reality (VR) has gotten a lot of hype in the past few years, but most of us have yet to experience it, or to use it in our every day lives. According to Omri Berg, a consultant on VR to companies and academic researchers, this is probably about to change.
“There are actually three technologies floating around in the space now: VR, Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR),” says Berg. MR is being touted as the next big thing by a company called Magic Leap, which has gotten an investment of $2 billion from the likes of Google and Alibaba, and which presents a sort of helmet that is able to seamlessly read and interact with the user’s real surroundings. This on the heals of Facebook’s Oculus Go and Microsoft’s HoloLens, signals a very hot market.
What kind of benefits can we expect this new generation of VR type products to enable, especially in the sphere of neurowellness?
“There is a field of research that is focused on presence, or embodiment, and it explores how our perception of reality can be influenced by virtual reality experiences,” explains Berg. He cites one particular study in psychology, in which a person can talk about his or her troubles, and have that text be spoken back to them by a virtual Sigmund Freud, which has actually proven itself beneficial in research. “The next step will be to put on a headset, and have Freud actually sitting across from you in the same room. The impact of such an experience promises to be even more powerful,” says Berg.
VR is also being used to improve the experience of meditation, which is already known to have a positive impact on wellness, through reduced stress and mood improvement, and to treat difficult conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“VR experiences, which are through this new generation of products going to finally be affordable and easy to use, has an inherent ability to show us the world from a different perspective. The potential use of these tools for neurowellness are tremendous, and I believe we’ll see more and more exciting implementations in this field,” concludes Berg.
“VR is one of the most promising technologies in neurowellness,” says Dr. Hagit Alon, VP Scientific Affairs at Joy Ventures. “In the recent Joy Challenge competition we held for startup ideas, two of the winners presented wellness solutions using VR. We believe that now that the technologies have matured, as Omri described, more and more implementations will arise using VR for improving wellness, so this is an exciting time.”