VR isn’t all about fun and games

Using virtual reality to overcome fear, reduce prejudice

When the floor surrounding where I stood disappeared and I was left balancing on a narrow wooden plank some 33 feet above a pit, I struggled not to fall off the edge. I was about to hyperventilate. What made this anxiety-wrenching episode all the more remarkable is that in reality my feet were firmly planted on the ground. I was wearing Oculus Rift virtual reality headgear and experiencing a simulation inside the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University. Sure, I was intellectually aware of my actual physical surroundings: A lab room about 20 by 20 in size, with booming speakers, a vibrating floor, and special high tech cameras that track LED sensors worn on the body. This tracking system is accurate to within one-tenth of 1 millimeter. But my brain was tricked into believing I was suspended high above the ground. ….[READ]

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