Virtual reality is rapidly becoming a real reality in all facets of technology, education, entertainment, and the workplace.
Virtual reality is changing the daily life of many. What are the biggest advancements you’ve seen in the use of virtual reality?
Virtual reality is evolving and developing rapidly. Not too long ago we were excited about the idea of wireless headphones. There are now companies such as Virtuix that create 360 degree treadmills to interact with your VR experience and Hypnos VR – a product that releases scents into the air based on the VR experience.
There have been advances in adaptive and stress-response simulations based on pupillometry measurements or even the integration of physiological sensors for behavioral research. The biggest breakthroughs are solutions that were previously unimaginable and are now entirely possible.
It seems that the medical field has been a great benefactor of virtual reality. Does it give students a better way to learn anatomy and other aspects of the field?
I believe that any experience is valuable for learning. Virtual reality is unique in that it allows an individual to see as if from their own perspective for virtual experiential learning. We often hear the phrase “If you could imagine walking a mile in someone else’s shoes”, now we can provide perspective, allowing another person to see the world as someone with a particular disease. or simulate training in a low-risk environment.
One example, Fire in the OR, is a VR simulation that allows medical professionals to safely train on how to eliminate fire danger in the operating room. I think simulations like these are outstanding examples of the value of virtual reality in education, to eliminate the elements of danger in everyday life. Their research showed a 250% improvement rate on fire safety in the operating room.
A huge industry leader in surgical simulations is Osso VR, creating surgical training procedures for surgeons and hiring some of our Augusta University medical illustration graduates.
How is this applied at Augusta University?
We encourage teachers to develop several methods of interactive modules to benefit all learning styles. Virtual reality certainly provides engaging and enriching material for a low-risk teaching environment. The Center for Educational Innovation is currently working with the Academic Success Center to implement Oculus Quest headsets for anatomy and physiology students to benefit from using the app in virtual reality.
If not, how has virtual reality and its use changed the way we live our daily lives?
VR headsets are known in robotics, manufacturing, therapeutic modalities, gaming capabilities, technology, research and education. Any scene you can film in 360 degrees, you can now watch in a headset and be completely immersed in the scene – for example a theater production, a museum visit, an art exhibition, a historically preserved temple. We have gone from telling a story to being immersed in a story.
We were able to use the integration and innovation of VR technology on campus to create enriching learning experiences. We collaborated with ceramic, including Brian McGrath and Raoul Pachecho, to help students virtually sculpt clay with Adobe Medium. The students printed their artwork in 3D after exporting the files from the VR simulation.
Where do you see the future of VR?
Future developments to integrate haptic feedback systems will be remarkable integrations. The continued development of behavioral research and the integration of gamification is an exciting opportunity in VR along with the continued development of appropriate security protocols and procedures. Cross-platform and cross-disciplinary possibilities will allow creativity to flourish in new-world solutions. It is clear that the continued need for a technical workforce capable of creating and supporting virtual reality and other high-impact technologies is growing rapidly.
Steinberg is one of 300 certified medical illustrators. It uses developments in virtual reality, 3D printing, animation, gamification and graphic design to support innovation among students, teachers and doctors.