Virtual Reality has so many exciting exciting avenues of growth, with new ones being discovered all the time. While it certainly remains a primarily entertainment focused technology in the minds of many average people, we get more enthusiastic about the ways VR will be able to benefit people with various disabilities.
Where you might consider a VR headset to be a toy found in a kid’s bedroom or hidden under a drawer in some executive’s office, used as a distraction from work, instead we grow to see it as possible tool for a fuller life, just as important as a wheelchair or medication.
But what forms of assistance can such a tool take? Making such claims can certainly seem engaging, but they’re hard to take as unbiased, particularly when coming from a virtual reality company like us. Taking a look at the ways we’re already seeing the technology benefit lives can also help us better explain the technology and hopefully help you understand how it can help you as well.
Providing Safe Experiences - The most straight forward benefit VR can provide is by giving a risk free experience to those who otherwise might have these experiences cut off to them. Various programs exist to allow individuals to surf or hike the Grand Canyon who otherwise would be restricted due to physical disabilities. Many landmarks have VR tours available online, which can also be helpful when planning a trip for someone with a physical disability, being able to identify what issues may need to be planned for when visiting in person. What’s more, studies have begun to show that for individuals who struggle with various types of traumatic experiences virtual reality can offer new forms of treatment, going through their experiences with the safe knowledge that they’re at no further risk of danger, allowing them to process their memories and finding healing.
Relearning nerve pathways - Research in Switzerland has shown that there’s a possibility that Virtual Reality will help stroke victims relearn how to do things like walking or using their hands. This works because virtual reality can trick the brain into reusing or rerouting around neural pathways that had become disused due to disease or injury. By mapping the virtual reality gear to display a disused right hand working in response to commands received, the brain will slowly process and correct the damage.
Learning Disabilities - For those dealing with a learning disability or who have neurodevelopmental disorders on the autism spectrum, virtual reality has been found to have benefits when it comes to education. VR allows for the creation of a controlled learning environment, which can involve removing extraneous stimulation or utilizing unique visuals to adapt to different learning styles or needs.
As we continue to follow the industry, new opportunities open up to help those that can use it. We’re constantly excited about these new possibilities, and we remain hopeful they will continue.