when new technologies go beyond leisure

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The term Virtual reality It always evokes the experience of living in an unreal world, but this technology can offer many more uses than just entertainment. From surprising advances in the field of rehabilitation of patients with reduced mobility, to the treatment of phobias or the creation of virtual laboratories to train future doctors and scientists.

It is a tool at the service of society that must be present in our daily lives, and this is already a fact, as shown, for example, by the Foren method, that uses Virtual Reality for the treatment and rehabilitation of people with neurological and motor injuries, as well as in patients with multiple sclerosis. It may sound like science fiction, but it is “neurovirtuality & rdquor; it has already been used with extraordinary results.

The key to turning Virtual Reality into a rehabilitation tool it resides in mirror neurons, discovered in 1996. When someone loses the ability to walk, their neurons stop taking care of that function to dedicate themselves to others. Neurons adapt in a sort of compensation phenomenon. For example, the blind develop a more pronounced touch.

To prevent the brain from giving up, this medical team records actors dressed in the same clothes as the patient, moving their legs. When observing said movement through VR glasses, neurons begin to be excited, in a combination therapy with the use of electrodes in certain muscles. The brain is not easily fooled, hence the need to introduce physical impulses and the use of real images, as it does not create computer generated images. Today it has been possible to increase muscle strength, reduce pain and decrease the stiffness of these muscles.

There are more applications in the use of Virtual Reality within the field of rehabilitation, from treating phobias to remote monitoring of patients. In the Peace Transplant Unit they use Virtual Reality to help the youngest to overcome some of the emotional consequences caused by their continued stay in hospital. A transplant requires a hospitalization that has a strong impact on both the patient children and the family nucleus. In the case of the former, this can lead to separation anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and even swallowing phobia after spending a long time using a nasogastric tube. This technology helps children overcome many of the emotional consequences.

Virtual Reality is a powerful tool in the hands of medical equipments, but it can also help the training of future doctors and scientists. Through the HoloLens Augmented Reality glasses from Microsoft, you can access a set of applications aimed at remote teletraining in the field of biomedicine. Thus, thanks to Mixed Reality, training centers can maintain direct contact with educational centers. Students can witness the operations, without having to leave the classroom and have constant communication with surgeons, and can even perform experiments in virtual laboratories that would cost millions of euros in the real world, without putting their physical integrity at risk. All these advances are just the first step towards the next revolution, Mixed Reality, which will merge Virtual Reality with Augmented Reality. These technologies have been around for a long time, but they won’t stop in the entertainment arena. The future of industry, healthcare or education is linked to glasses.

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