VR use for psychological disorders, not only height phobia

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VR use for psychological disorders, not only height phobia

Post#1 by francois » 31 Dec 2018, 16:52

There has been a important progress in the development of VR (virtual reality) aimed towards the treatment of psychological disorders since the 1990's. According to the reseach on the field, different difficulties have been treated effeCtively with this approach, namely: height phobia, elevator phobia, spider phobia, small animals phobias (rats, dog, cats, ... ). Interestingly, more complicated problematics seem also to respond to the VR treatment: social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD, sexual assault victims, veterans back from war), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and even schizophrenia.

**references to come**

Some very specific interventions targeted to special populations, also support the arrival of VR as a treament of choice. For example, though the programs to help policemen to identify autistic individuals have failed to help them in their daily work to recogize autistic persons, a VR program enabling autistic persons to identify policemen and behave appropriately has proven to be quite helpful.

Whereas up to now the equipment was too costly for the layman, it can be said that 2018 has seen this access possible for persons other than the funded researcher. A laptop driven with a sufficient graphic card, a GeForce GTX 1060 3GB for example, to be able to support an Oculus rift or an HTC vive, will permit the use of VR environments.

The problem to overcome is to have a setup that will prevent the lagging of images which is source of cyber sickness, and this is exactly where we are now. Though cyber sickness could be an issue on these more recent for certain persons, gradual use for short period of time of VR (under 20 minutes) should provide habituation or a better tolerance to the device.

The virtual environments to treat psychological disorders have been created on different type of platforms. Pioneer research used already built environments developped by the gaming industries, and thus just added the necessary stimulus (spider, small animals, height ...) in these already built environments. As VR became more popular and the access to VR development software akin, the reseacher built on these environments. Presently, Unity 3D is a platform that seems quite popular amongst developpers of VR environments for psychological disorders. It is available for linux.


Could you run the Unity 3D platform for windows on linux? Locically yes, but the answer is no for the Oculus rift, who is known to have abandoned the linux platform. Fortunately, the HTC VIVE would be linux compatible thru a platform called Steam VR.
https://forums.oculusvr.com/developer/d ... ulus-linux
https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page= ... ktop-Quirk

STEAM VR, OpenVR, Valve
Valve Corporation


Another way to have access to VR treatment for psychological difficulties is the use of a cell phone equipped with a gyroscope and an appropriate headset: google cardboard, VR headset adapted for phones (*** examples to be provided***), samsung gear and google dreamview. An evolution of these more simple, but less performing devices has been reached. Recently, devices combining the display of the more performing cell phones integrated to a headset has hit the road: Oculus go, and other devices are to come.
*** to be continued***

These devices though suitable, are not able to perform in term of processing and quality of image as much as a computer and Oculus go or HTC Vive combination. In addition, the treatment software available are less numerous.
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