Virtual Reality: its potential in medicine and education

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Technological advances have made the world of reality more accessible to different audiences, what is its use in medicine and education?

Virtual Reality: its potential in medicine and education

A first definition of virtual reality is that given by the RAE, a representation of scenes or images of objects produced by a computer system, which gives the sensation of its real existence. If we go to a more detailed definition, the portal Virtual World explains to us that VR "consists of sensory immersion in a new world, based on real or not, that has been generated artificially, and that we can perceive thanks to virtual reality glasses and their accessories (audio headphones, gloves, etc ...)". In summary, virtual reality allows us to interact and inhabit a world created artificially by a computer and software.

Leer en español: Realidad Virtual: su potencial en la medicina y la educación

It is important to keep in mind that there are two types of RV. First, according to the Technology & Computing portal , immersed virtual reality. This consists of people perceiving themselves in a virtual three-dimensional environment with the help of other devices such as glasses, helmets, gloves, etc. Second, virtual reality not immersed, which is the creation of a virtual world, but within the computer screen, without other devices that insert the user into a total body experience.

It is worth noting also that the largest digital companies are creating their own version of virtual reality glasses or helmets. For example, the Gear VR of Samsung, the HoloLens of Microsoft or the Oculus Rift of Facebook.


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Virtual reality has increasingly become a tool in different fields of life. Beyond its popularity in the world of videogames, VR has been explored in educational and medical fields . Here at LatinAmerican Post we present some of the utilities in those fields.

Virtual reality in medicine

To study the body, dead bodies traditionally kept in the amphitheatres of universities and hospitals are traditionally used. But virtual reality has come to change that.

According to the Baboonlab portal, the RV serves to perform "a simulation of skills with dummies, which have organs or complete parts of the human body", which allows "acquiring manual skills to the students, recognizing the structure of the organs and also , learn to use different equipment like the defibrillator. "

Likewise, Guillermo Vázquez, director of R & D + i of the Advanced Simulation and Technological Innovation Center of the IAVANTE Foundation in Andalusia, said in an interview to the same media, that "virtual reality is used for the training of complex skills such as endoscopy. , laparoscopy or endovascular navigation ". Ultimately, its use in medicine begins to spread.

One of the most interesting cases is in relation to neurology. For example, explains the portal Engineering & Technology that "Posts in a 3D virtual world, generated by computer graphics, neurosurgeons can make a 'tour' of an individual's brain, using the helmet to see a 3D representation, compiled by scans of computed tomography, by X-ray images. The consulted person can explain what he sees as he explores the VR model. " A trip to the brain through virtual reality.

Its use to treat patients with Alzheimer's is also innovative. According to Baboonlab, there are tools to help patients recover cognitive abilities "by reproducing images of the past." The objective of this treatment is "to enhance the concentration of the patient and improve their attitude, since apathy or lack of concentration are problems that derive from this disease. These methods are done through the reproduction of events, experiences or family gatherings that can stimulate the patient's memory. "


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Virtual reality in education

As suggested in its use in medical classrooms to study the human body, virtual reality has also proven to be a great tool in education in classrooms of all kinds.

As explained in the Education 3.0 portal, "The first and most significant change implied by the use of an ecosystem based on virtual reality is that the learning environment goes from being a closed classroom with desks and chairs to one generated by a computer -or video- much more immersive, whose sensory experiences are very close to reality " . In that sense, the learning space is amplified, at least virtually, thanks to the possibilities of VR, so that students can explore new worlds without having to leave the classroom.

A great example of that is the possibility of visiting museums or tourist places of great history. As mentioned in the Education Drive portal, "These tools allow students in history or English language arts classes to visit places from the Pyramids of Giza to the Guggenheim Museum, by making virtual pedagogical outputs through their mobile devices with content that is usually free. " Thus, reality makes it possible for us to educate ourselves in all parts of the world without leaving home.


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LatinAmerican Post | Juan Gabriel Bocanegra

Translated from "Realidad Virtual: su potencial en la medicina y la educación"