Virtual Reality Tech Transforming Heart Treatments

However, bulky equipment and low-quality virtual images hindered these developments

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Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality Tech Transforming Heart Treatments. Pixabay

Virtual Reality (VR)-powered head-mounted wearable devices are leading to new developments in cardiovascular treatment and improved outcomes for patients, researchers report.

The VR technology is helping in cardiac care, includes education and training, pre-procedural planning, visualisation during a procedure and rehabilitation in post-stroke patients.

“For years, VR technology promised the ability for physicians to move beyond 2-D screens in order to understand organ anatomy noninvasively,” said Jennifer NA Silva, Assistant Professor at the Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis.

However, bulky equipment and low-quality virtual images hindered these developments.

“Led by the mobile device industry, recent hardware and software developments-such as head mounted displays and advances in display systems-have enabled new classes of 3-D platforms that are transforming clinical cardiology,” Silva added in a paper appearing in the journal JACC: Basic to Translational Science.

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Representational image. Pixabay

VR provides complete control over the wearer’s visual and auditory experience as they interact within a completely synthetic environment, while Augmented Reality (AR) allows the wearer to see their native environment while placing 2-D or 3-D images within it.

Merged reality and Mixed Reality (MR) allow for interaction with digital objects while preserving a sense of presence within the true physical environment.

“These technologies make up the full spectrum of extended reality, which is transforming the practice of cardiovascular medicine,” the researchers noted.

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The technology allows patients and family members to better understand their cardiac conditions, helping them to make more informed decisions surrounding their medical care.

Medical students and trainees can better visualise cardiac abnormalities with VR, which allows trainees to simulate operating environments and multiple physicians to interact while viewing the same educational material in a natural environment.

However, the authors said there were still challenges and limitations.

“These technologies are still constrained due to cost, size, weight and power to achieve the highest visual quality, mobility, processing speed and interactivity,” Silva said. (IANS)

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Tech Giant Apple Plans To Acquire Virtual Reality Company “NextVR”

The company is developing two head-worn products, including a combination AR/VR headset for release in 2022 and "full-fledged" AR glasses for release by 2023

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Apple's rumoured augmented reality (AR) glasses are also under development and may launch by 2022. Pixabay

Cupertino-based tech giant Apple is planning to acquire California-based virtual reality company NextVR in a deal said to be worth $100 million, the media reported.

NextVR is a company that melds VR with sports, music, and entertainment, offering VR experiences for watching live events on VR headsets from PlayStation, HTC, Oculus, Google, Microsoft, and other manufacturers, reports MacRumors.

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According to the NextVR website, the company has established partnerships with the NBA, Wimbledon, Fox Sports, the WWE and more.

The California-based company has been struggling in recent years, leading to a 40 per cent staff reduction recently.

Apple
Cupertino-based tech giant Apple is planning to acquire California-based virtual reality company NextVR in a deal said to be worth $100 million, the media reported. Pixabay

Though iPhone maker has not yet disclosed the acquisition sum, the NextVR employees have been told that they will need to relocate from Southern California to Cupertino.

Apple’s rumoured augmented reality (AR) glasses are also under development and may launch by 2022.

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The company is developing two head-worn products, including a combination AR/VR headset for release in 2022 and “full-fledged” AR glasses for release by 2023. (IANS)

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VR Can Now Allow Patients to Follow Physiotherapy at Home

Virtual avatars can help perform physiotherapy at home

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Physiotherapy
Virtual Reality (VR) combined with 3D Motion technology could allow physiotherapy to be translated onto a virtual avatar whom the patient can follow at home with ease. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Virtual Reality (VR) combined with 3D Motion technology could allow physiotherapy to be translated onto a virtual avatar whom the patient can follow at home with ease, say researchers.

Outside of the clinic, patients rarely receive any guidance other than a leaflet of sketches or static photographs to instruct them how to complete their exercises.

This leads to poor adherence, with patients becoming anxious about not getting the exercise right, or simply getting bored by the repetitiveness of the movements.

“There is huge potential for consumer VR technologies to be used for both providing guidance to physiotherapy exercises, but also to make the exercises more interesting,” said Dr Mark Elliott, Principal investigator on the project from University of Warwick.

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The digitally-enabled technological solution can underpin transformative health innovations to impact the field of physiotherapy, and have a direct benefit to patients’ rehabilitation. (Representational Image). Pixabay

To reach this conclusion, the researchers asked participants to step in time with an avatar viewed through a VR headset.

Unknown to the participants, the researchers subtly slowed down or speeded up one of the avatar’s steps, such that the participants would have to correct their own stepping movement to stay in time.

The effect this correction had on their step timing and synchronisation with the avatar was measured.

“We found that participants struggled to keep in time if only visual information was present,” said lead author Omar Khan from WMG, University of Warwick.

However, “when we added realistic footstep sounds in addition to the visual information, the more realistic multisensory information allowed participants to accurately follow the avatar,” Khan added in a paper published in the Journal PLOS ONE.

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The digitally-enabled technological solution can underpin transformative health innovations to impact the field of physiotherapy, and have a direct benefit to patients’ rehabilitation.

“We now plan to investigate other types of movements working closely in partnership with physiotherapists, to establish the areas of physiotherapy that will benefit most from this technology,” said Professor Theo Arvanitis, co-author and Director of the Institute of Digital Healthcare. (IANS)

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Social Media Giant Facebook Acquires VR Games Developer “Sanzaru Games”

The company also announced Facebook Horizon, a new social experience in VR where one can build their own worlds with easy-to-use tools (no coding skills required)

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Facebook in November last year acquired Beat Games, the developer of popular Virtual Reality rhythm game called Beat Saber. Beat Games became part of Facebook's VR gaming Group Oculus Studios. Pixabay

Facebook has acquired Sanzaru Games, the developer behind the best virtual reality (VR) game of 2019 titled “Asgard’s Wratha for an undisclosed sum.

Sanzaru Games would join Facebook’s Oculus Studios as an “independently operated studio”, reports uploadvr.com.

“We’re thrilled to share that Sanzaru is joining the Oculus Studios team! Together, we will continue to pursue a future of rich, immersive and original VR game content. Excited for what’s to come!” Sanzaru Games said in a statement.

“We can confirm the vast majority of Sanzaru will be joining the Oculus Studios team,” Facebook said in a statement.

Facebook in November last year acquired Beat Games, the developer of popular Virtual Reality rhythm game called Beat Saber. Beat Games became part of Facebook’s VR gaming Group Oculus Studios.

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Facebook has acquired Sanzaru Games, the developer behind the best virtual reality (VR) game of 2019 titled “Asgard’s Wratha for an undisclosed sum. Pixabay

At its sixth Oculus Connect conference in September, Facebook shared its vision for VR and plans to build the future of computing with people at the centre with new updates for Quest VR Headsets.

Among the announcements was Oculus Link which allows users to connect Quest with a PC via a USB-C cable, including announcing Horizon and finger tracking for Quest.

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The company also announced Facebook Horizon, a new social experience in VR where one can build their own worlds with easy-to-use tools (no coding skills required). (IANS)