Virtual reality

Virtual Reality – What we are ignoring?

Virtual reality is becoming the new craze, and why not? The extent to which augmented reality / virtual reality has developed is giving amazing experience. From very affordable headgears to high end models, VR/AR has already invaded many industries e.g. Medical, Architecture, Gaming; these are just a few to name. But everything comes with a price tag. No, we are not talking about monetary value here. We are talking about price that our biological or psychological health has to pay. We generally, don’t talk about the after effects of using such devices. Health experts are still involved in studying the effects of VR on brain, senses and different body parts.

I clearly remember, when I was very young and went for 3D movie… It indeed was a great experience for me but after watching 3-4 3D scenes, my head started spinning and I started to feel nauseated. Thank god, those were the days, when movies had few 3D scenes and rest was 2D. Similar is my experience with VR head mounting devices. Though this is a very short term effect and you start feeling normal after removing HMD. But this proves that HMDs surely leaves some impact on us and we cannot say that there is no problem.

Second major concern of scientists is hand-eye coordination. Balancing and multi tasking issue has been observed in many HMD users. But thankfully, this is not a long lasting effect, but prolonged use can prove dangerous in long run.

Marty Banks, neuroscientist, says longer-lasting effects are worth watching out for. Everything I have seen suggests it is all short-term and you readjust after you take that headset off,” he said. “But I think it would be unwise for us to say there is no problem.

The disclaimers, that come along with these devices from various companies clearly stated that these devices should not be used by children under the age of 13 years. Second, their use is prohibited in moving vehicles. But despite of all these warnings, Australian airline Qantas recently announced it will soon be providing the headsets to first-class passengers on flights. We clearly are ignoring the warning. And we cannot blame technology for the after effects.

On one side VR can provide a big boom for various industries if used in a right way. However, it is utter foolishness to ignore the warnings and precautions issued by different companies. And, warning signs that our body shows after using such devices. Because, still there is a big gap in the assumptions that scientists make and how it actually affect.

But when it comes to understanding how VR affects the brain, scientists “don’t really know what’s going on, said Mayank Mehta, a neuroscientist at UCLA.