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The Impact of Virtual Reality on Mental Health Problems and Mental Disorders

Virtual reality (VR) is being used more and more often as a therapeutic tool in psychology or psychiatry. In recent years, VR interventions appear more extensively also in disorders such as depression, anxiety and phobia.

At Oxford University a new study has phobia sufferers immersed in claustrophobic or stressful situations. Professor Daniel Freedman explains, “After just 30 minutes of VR…there were large reductions in paranoia”. As a sensory stimulator, carers say Alzheimer sufferers enjoy reduced agitation when using the therapy. Trialed in 50 US hospitals, it has also become a key tool in treating soldiers with PTSD.

There are two different focuses of VR in healthcare: VR as a simulation tool and VR as an interaction tool. Physicians and surgeons mainly use VR as a simulation tool, while in behavioral medicine the interaction focus predominates.

VR has been used in conjunction with counseling and cognitive behavior therapy for the treatment of addictions. The scenario where addiction behavior is very likely to occur is replicated using VR, so that the counselor can observe their behavior and reaction to it. This information is used to plan appropriate therapy. The effectiveness of VR has been verified in the treatment of acrophobia, spider phobia, panic disorder and agoraphobia, body image disturbances, binge eating disorders, and fear of flying.

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Impact of Virtual Reality in the Social Phobia by Research

Virtual Reality (VR) can be used as a therapeutic tool to conduct efficacious in-session exposure therapy by presenting virtual equivalents of phobic stimuli, yet past hardware restrictions hindered implementation in routine care and effectiveness studies.

People with social phobia have a severe fear of everyday social situations. In this video we describe a virtual reality exposure therapy system specifically designed to expose patients with social phobia to various social situations. Patients can engage in a free speech dialogue with avatars while being monitored by a therapist. To control phobic stressors, therapists can control the avatar’s gaze, the avatar’s dialogue style and the narrative stories that are embedded throughout the exposure. The system uses the Delft remote virtual reality exposure therapy platform which allows remote treatment.

This video is part of CHI 2012 paper:
Brinkman, W.P., Hartanto, D., Kang, N., de Vliegher, D., Kampmann, I.L., Morina, N., Emmelkamp, P.M.G., Neerincx, M.A. (2012) A virtual reality dialogue system for the treatment of social phobia, CHI’12: CHI’12 extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems, p. 1099-1102.

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How AI and Eye Tracking is revolutionizing VR Gaming

Eye-tracking—the ability to quickly and precisely measure the direction a user is looking while inside of a VR headset—is often talked about within the context of foveated rendering, with the hopes that it could reduce the performance requirements of VR. And while foveated rendering is an exciting use-case for eye-tracking in VR headsets, eye-tracking stands to bring so much more to the table.
Eye-tracking has been talked about with regards to VR as a distant technology for many years, but developments from companies across the industry have shown promising progress in precision, latency, robustness, and cost. The hardware is becoming increasingly available to developers and researchers.

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How Augmented Reality Will Change Education Completely by Florian Radke (TEDx)

 

Virtual and Augmented Realities can create powerful experiences in Education. This TedX talk explains some of the ways AR can be implemented and how it can be a positive force in the future of education. Creating immersive experiences is our passion and we have seen first-hand the increase in engagement and retention when VR and AR are integrated into the learning process. At Th3rdEye we are excited to see the change this creates both in K-12 and higher learning as well as corporate training!
Florian Radke talks about how Augmented reality is not a toy, it’s a powerful tool that will help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. If we do it right, it can be the next great platform for education, human connection, and productivity. Like Iron man, we all will soon be surrounded by data and 3D models that we can interact with, as early as the year 2025.
Florian is currently leading communications at Meta, an augmented reality (AR) company that is one of the companies at the forefront of designing our AR future. Meta’s focus is not on creating experiences that distract or pull us out of the real world, but rather than enhance our natural environments and facilitate greater learning and communication than has been available before.
The possible applications range from more immersive classroom learning to a collaborative creative tool that can be used in real-time to bring storytellers together from around the world.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

 

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Potential of Virtual Reality in the Future

Virtual Reality is one of the technologies with the highest projected potential for growth. According to the latest forecasts from IDC Research (2018), investment in VR and AR will multiply 21-fold over the next four years, reaching 15.5 billion euros by 2022.

 

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The Future of Virtual Reality After The Pandemic (Covid19)

Coronavirus could be the catalyst to reinvigorate virtual reality headsets.

The future of Virtual Reality is here. VR gaming after the global pandemic is expected to be great. The VR market value in gaming is expected to rise up to 40 billion USD by 2026. Virtual Reality technology, apps, and games are pushing the VR industry forward. But a real game-changer is going to be the release of 3D interactive VR movies.

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MSI VR One: a Pascal-based Gaming PC for VR in a Backpack

MSI VR One - a gaming PC in a backpack
MSI VR One is a gaming PC designed for virtual reality and optimized for the HTC VIVE. The goal of the VR One is to remove the main limitation of current VR systems: you have to stay close to the PC. Thanks to the VR One, you can play VR games without thinking to the cables. The VR one is not a notebook, it’s a real PC.


Update (2016.09.14)
The VR One comes with an high-end Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA extreme level GTX 1070 graphics card.

MSI VR One homepage is available HERE.


MSI VR One is the world’s lightest and thinnest backpack PC system. It is sure to have massive impacts on the global VR market by removing the current VR experience limitations of having to stay close to the PC and the monitor due to cables connected. MSI VR One weighs merely 3.6kg. It comes with 2 battery packs and is able to deliver 1.5 hours full speed gameplay. Powered by overclocked CPU and GeForce ® GTX 10 series graphics card, MSI VR One is able to deliver full throttle gaming performance under noise of 40dBA.

Under 3.6kg / 1.5+ hours VR gaming / Non-stop hot swap battery capability

The rest similar products simply can’t compare with MSI VR One in terms of its futuristic look, the chassis’s material quality, the lightweight of 3.6kg, the longevity of its battery life and the non-stop hot swap design. On top of just making the MSI VR One looking good, MSI has paid a great amount of efforts on the ID, the cooling and the interior hardware designs to make sure the highest performance and the best user VR experience of this masterpiece.

MSI VR One is deisgned with an armer pack, a futuristic robot machine style, with 2 battey packs on the bottom right and left of the backpack. Once removing the 2 batteries aside, MSI VR One is merely 2.2 kg in weight. As a stand alone PC system, MSI VR One is even lighter than some performance gaming notebooks. The design is more compact and the performance is even better than any other similar products. Moreover, it is more convenient thanks to the the longevity of its battery life and the non-stop hot swap design. You may play hours of VR games non-stop. For B to B business or VR developpers, the portability and the mobility of MSI VR One is the best solution both for the limitedless VR environment possibilities and the VR content demonstration all around the world.

The Optimized Interface for all VR Gears and Incredibly Silent Cooling system

VR One is fully HTC VIVE Optimized. It comes with 1x HDMI port, 1 Mini DisplayPort and 1 ultra-speed Thunderbolt3 by Type-C port support highest bandwidth for dual 2K displays per eye. All these ports support smoother VR experience with over 90FPS for any high level VR devices. Moreover, there are 4x USB 3.0 ports for more external devices for some VR set requests.

The secret to keep the VR One cool and silent for long sessions of VR experience relies on the cooling system. The cooling design consists of dual 9cm ultra blade fans and 9 heat pipes. Working together, the cooling system easily keeps the VR One silent under 41dBA. The only sound you will hear, therefore, is from your VR headsets. The silent and powerful VR One allows you to immerse yourself totally in the VR world at night without waking up your pets and parents!

The full press-release can be found HERE.


MSI VR One - a gaming PC in a backpack

Using Virtual Reality at the IBM Watson Image Recognition Hackathon

Using Virtual Reality at the IBM Watson Image Recognition Hackathon

Using Virtual Reality at the IBM Watson Image Recognition Hackathon

Five teams of developers gathered at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality (SVVR) headquarters in California last month to learn about the new features of IBM Watson’s Visual Recognition service, like the ability to train and retrain custom classes on top of the stock API, that allow the service to have new and interesting use cases in VR when combined with the Watson Unity SDK. Staff from IBM, NVIDIA and SVVR were on-site for the event to help developers gain the best experience.

The Watson Developer Cloud Unity SDK makes it easy for developers to take advantage of modern AI techniques through a set of cloud-based services with a simple REST APIs. These APIs can be accessed from the Unity development environment by using the Watson Unity SDK, available on GitHub, so anyone can take the code and improve upon it.

This was the first experience building training sets for image recognition for many of the developers, but the Watson API made things relatively simple. Teams were able to get started within a few minutes.

After two days of hacking, the winning team was Watson and Waffles, an intriguing adventure game which required the player to sketch game objects using the Vive controller. Watson identified the objects, and then the game manifested them for the player to use.

Using Virtual Reality at the IBM Watson Image Recognition Hackathon

Using Virtual Reality at the IBM Watson Image Recognition Hackathon

The game was innovative — combining VR adventuring with room scale sketching using motion controllers. The winning team received an NVIDIA TITAN X GPU and an HTC Vive VR setup.

“It was fantastic to experiment with the new AI image recognition technologies in all new ways in VR, and now my mind is running wild with ideas of how AI could become an essential part of a game developer’s toolbox — allowing us to rapid prototype things that would otherwise require hours of entangled webs of logic,” said Michael Jones, developer on the Watson and Waffles team.

The runner-up teams built a game based around recognizing playing cards with the Vive’s front-facing camera and a VR panoramic photo viewing application that allowed uses to take a virtual journey through their memories.

“I really wanted to do a Watson VR hackathon focusing on a single service — in this case visual recognition — to see what creative and interesting new use cases developers could come up with, and thanks to the high quality of participants and the support of great partners like NVIDIA, HTC and SVVR, we were blown away by the results,” said Michael Ludden, Product Manager, Developer Relations at IBM Watson who also mentioned they have plans of hosting similar hackathons in the future.

Watson uses GPU-acceleration to power components of the image recognition API. Image recognition can be used in a variety of Virtual and Augmented reality applications, and besides being able to recognize images, Watson has services for interactive speech, natural language processing, translation, speech-to-text, text-to-speech and data analytics, among others.

Deep Learning to Unlock Mysteries of Parkinson’s Disease

Deep Learning to Unlock Mysteries of Parkinson’s Disease

Deep Learning to Unlock Mysteries of Parkinson’s Disease

Researchers at The Australian National University are using deep learning and NVIDIA technologies to better understand the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Currently it is difficult to determine what type of Parkinson’s someone has or how quickly the condition will progress.
The study will be conducted over the next five years at the Canberra Hospital in Australia and will involve 120 people suffering from the disease and an equal number of non-sufferers as a controlled group.

“There are different types of Parkinson’s that can look similar at the point of onset, but they progress very differently,” says Dr Deborah Apthorp of the ANU Research School of Psychology. “We are hoping the information we collect will differentiate between these different conditions.”

Researchers Alex Smith (L) and Dr Deborah Anthrop (R) work with Parkinson’s disease sufferer Ken Hood (middle).

Researchers Alex Smith (L) and Dr Deborah Anthrop (R) work with Parkinson’s disease sufferer Ken Hood (middle).

Dr Apthorp said the research will measure brain imaging, eye tracking, visual perception and postural sway.

From the data collected during the study, the researchers will be using a GeForce GTX 1070 GPU and cuDNN to train their deep learning models to help find patterns that indicate degradation of motor function correlating with Parkinson’s.

The researchers plan to incorporate virtual reality into their work by having the sufferers’ wear head-mounted displays (HMDs), which will help them better understand how self-motion perception is altered in Parkinson’s disease, and use stimuli that mimics the visual scene during self-motion.

“Additionally, we would like to explore the use of eye tracking built into HMDs, which is a much lower cost alternative to a full research eye tracking system and reduces the amount of equipment into a highly portable and versatile single piece of equipment,” says researcher Alex Smith.

Advanced Real-Time Visualization for Robotic Heart Surgery

Advanced Real-Time Visualization for Robotic Heart Surgery

Advanced Real-Time Visualization for Robotic Heart Surgery

Researchers at the Harvard Biorobotics Laboratory are harnessing the power of GPUs to generate real-time volumetric renderings of patients’ hearts. The team has built a robotic system to autonomously steer commercially available cardiac catheters that can acquire ultrasound images from within the heart. They tested their system in the clinic and reported their results at the 2016 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Stockholm, Sweden.

The team used an Intracardiac Echocardiography (ICE) catheter, which is equipped with an ultrasound transducer at the tip, to acquire 2D images from within a beating heart. Using NVIDIA GPUs, the team was able to reconstruct a 4D (3D + time) model of the heart from these ultrasound images.

Generating a 4D volume begins with co-registering ultrasound images that are acquired at different imaging angles but at the same phase of the cardiac cycle. The position and rotation of each image with respect to the world coordinate frame is measured using electromagnetic (EM) trackers that are attached to the catheter body. This point cloud is then discretized to lie on a 3D grid. Next, infilling is performed to fill the gaps between the slices, generating a dense volumetric representation of the heart. Finally, the volumes are displayed to the surgeon using volume rendering via raycasting, leveraging the CUDA – OpenGL interoperability. The team accelerated the volume reconstruction and rendering algorithms using two NVIDIA TITAN GPUs.

“ICE catheters are currently seldom used due to the difficulty in manual steering,” said principal investigator Prof. Robert D. Howe, Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Engineering at Harvard University. “Our robotic system frees the clinicians of this burden, and presents them with a new method of real-time visualization that is safer and higher quality than the X-ray imaging that is used in the clinic. This is an enabling technology that can lead to new procedures that were not possible before, as well as improving the efficacy of the current ones.”

Providing real-time procedure guidance requires the use of efficient algorithms combined with a high-performance computing platform. Images are acquired at up to 60 frames per second from the ultrasound machine. Generating volumetric renderings from these images in real-time is only possible using GPUs.

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My name is Sayed Ahmadreza Razian and I am a graduate of the master degree in Artificial intelligence .
Click here to CV Resume page

Related topics such as programming, image processing, machine vision, virtual reality, machine learning, data mining, and math are my research interests.

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My Scientific expertise
  • Image processing
  • Machine vision
  • Machine learning
  • Pattern recognition
  • Data mining - Big Data
  • CUDA Programming
  • Game and Virtual reality

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