New research finds ways to reduce physical risk while using VR

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A study conducted by Oregon State University has tried to assess some common movements in virtual reality (VR) that may contribute to muscle strain and discomfort.

The aim of the study was to make sure that users who are not just into gaming, but also into education and industrial training, are safe.

Participants wore an Oculus Rift headset and were tasked with pointing to specific dots around a circle, or colouring in a particular area with their finger. The tests were repeated with visuals placed at eye level, 15 degrees above eye level and up to 30 degrees below.

Jay Kim, of OSU’S College of Public Health and Human Sciences, said: “There are no standards and guidelines for virtual and augmented reality interactions. We wanted to evaluate the effects of the target distances, locations and sizes so we can better design these interfaces to reduce the risk for potential musculoskeletal injuries.”

In October, a University of Virginia (UVA) Health interventional radiologist argued that VR can offer physicians a better way to educate and expedite the adoption of innovative procedures. By leveraging the simulated experience technology, UVA’s Zia Haskal, MD, has created a 11-minute video with an aim to increase the availability of a less-invasive treatment option for thyroid patients.

During the same month, a study conducted by the Neurosurgical Simulation and Artificial Intelligence Learning Centre at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) and McGill University found that machine-learning algorithms can precisely evaluate the capabilities of neurosurgeons at the time of virtual surgery, indicating that AI-powered VR simulators can be very useful tools to train surgeons.

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