VR has truly disrupted the conventional therapeutic techniques and protocols coming to forth as an assistive technology that helps children with disabilities like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), on a personal level and enables to remove some of the physical limitations that get in the way of their learning and development. Floreo, a VR company, specialized in ASD, is now penetrating its way in the Middle East to bring groundbreaking innovation in the Special Needs Education sector by offering VR learning tools designed to help improve social cognitive skills in autistic children.
Virtual reality provides conducive environments for children with special needs to interact with their surroundings in a different way, practice essential physical skills and support their rehabilitative goals. In the Middle East, immersive technologies innovation company VRXOne has been working to bring this technology to institutes and medical facilities for children with special needs, having recently conducted VR camp for the disabled during Bahrain Summer Festival 2018. Their One Million VR Expeditions program also puts a particular emphasis on the Special Needs Education.
Co-founder & CEO of VRXone and the ARVR & Ai Strategist MENA, Dr. Sana Farid belives that VR has transformed the domain of Special Needs Education forever, “There is a lot to be said about the way Virtual Reality has revolutionized the Special Needs Education by providing a customized approach and a unique set of learning and growth opportunities for students with disabilities, which was not possible before.”
Joining hands with Floreo – a VR startup working to help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), VRXOne is working to extend the potential of Virtual Reality as a supplementary method to help develop social and communication skills for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD is a developmental disability that typically restricts communication and interaction with others including difficulty in understanding complex facial expressions and to even recognize faces, causing significant social problems.
Unfortunately, little is known about diagnosis and treatment of ASD, and even the access to available therapy is limited for the majority. Although evidence states that early intervention treatment services can help with social skills development for children. To this end, Floreo is leveraging the potential of VR technology in facilitating multimodal adaptive social interaction integrating repeatable and supervised learning environments, automated performance data collection , and accessible, affordable therapeutic treatment. Floreo uses customized VR lessons to build real world skills that incorporate using/shifting eye gaze, cognitive development with the help of imitation and use of gestures, interaction in school environments, as well as various safety situations. Vijay Ravindran, Co-Founder & CEO of Floreo, talks about the pros of using VR for ASD saying:
“Virtual really allows the creation of immersive teaching environment that occur in 3D space, allow for repeatable practice, and can be designed to meet the learner where they are in complexity. We’re excited to partner with Dr. Farid and VRXOne to bring Floreo’s ground-breaking science-backed curriculum to the Middle East.”
The on-going research has already proved the effectiveness and usefulness of VR-based design system and places high hopes in the power of this technology to help bridge the gap between society and people affected with ASD by helping to considerably improve their social interaction.
Floreo is leveraging the power of Virtual Reality to develop a supplementary method of teaching social and communication skills for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Our VR learning tool is fun and engaging for the learner, while allowing a supervising adult to monitor and track the learner’s progress. Floreo is currently being used by schools, therapy practices, and parents. We are also running several research studies, including a study with the Center for Autism Research at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and National Institutes of Health.
VRXOne is a comprehensive virtual reality program for education and training.
With the use of creative and immersive technologies as well as hands-on practical tools, VRXOne offers cutting-edge customizable solutions applicable for any education or training environment in an efficient and risk-free manner while capacitating maximum optimization of productivity.
VRXOne aims at transforming the face of learning and development technologies in the Middle East as well as internationally by integrating a global operating framework interweaved with corporate and economic vision.
Goldman Sachs, a US-based multinational investment bank and financial services company predicts an investment of $700 million in the AR/VR applications in education by 2025. Will Mixed Reality in education also be as successful and promising contributor like other wearables applications in the market?
More than three years ago, the Florida-based company Magic Leap had released the first teaser video of its Augmented Reality glasses. Firm assertions were made by the company that the soon-to-be-unveiled device would be a disruptor and a game-changer in the wearables market.
Cut to August 2018, the much-awaited, much-anticipated, touted as groundbreaking Augmented Reality headset, Magic Leap One Creator Edition has been unveiled by the company. The headsets are available to developers in cities across the contiguous US.
The Creator Edition is intended for programmers so they can build applications and experiences on the platform.
Magic Leap claims that its device will present an unparalleled experience of ‘spatial computing’.
This claim is truly substantiated by the built of the wearable device. With elements like eye and hand-tracking technology that coordinate movements between the headset and a person’s body, Magic Leap devices have an aptitude of being more than just digital overlays. Its cameras, sensors, speakers, optical relay and a super-powered processor in the Lightpack give input to the visual system. It is linked through a wire to a small computer which can be clipped to a pocket.
With eight supported gestures, the device will maneuver the movement of students within the environment. It will also come with sensors to detect their movements. In a classroom, such kind of interaction allows digital elements to be a part of the real world. When such deeper interactions can be built in an environment, students experience a profound simulating experience where their real world is combined with real-like graphics. This brings them the best of both worlds. The simulations multiply their access to the world while they are still learning in their classroom environment.
Interestingly, the device can also react to the gaze, gestures, gait, voice and even the heartbeats of its user. This is made possible by tracking their geo-location in the world. A teacher can create penetrating learning experiences and show different concepts through an intelligent symbiosis of sensors, machine learning and visuals.
The Light Field technology used, enables the user to focus on graphic objects in the same way as a human eye would focus on real objects. Through this method, Magic Leap excels at constructing an altered or augmented world around a user.
In a demo video released by the company, a user was seen holding an elephant at the palm of his hand. While the elephant was a reel object, the user interacted with it much like it was actually present.
This is essentially where the device stands out. The reel objects are spatially aware of their environment.
So when this elephant would walk towards the edge of the table, it would actually fall down, just like a real one would. Through amazing spatial audio, the distance and intensity are devised with amazing accuracy and control.
Will Magic Leap in education be the groundbreaker it claims to be? Let’s wait till the user reviews start pouring.
Success stories are a result of courageous decisions. Nothing beats hard work and passion when accompanied by persistence.
Women in business are making big. Many working women out there are helping in making workplaces more inclusive and collaborative. A workplace with justice for both genders creates balance and stability.
It has been a known fact that women have excelled in education, even after women education hasn’t been a priority in many households. So what made things better on the professional front? While girls have won academic battles and brought home laurels, many other characteristics helped the world believe that women in business were an essential.
The proven ability of women in being emotionally intelligent helps them to understand their team, frame strategies, and win the support of peers. The revolution for women empowerment has helped us come so forward. And to fight the odds and come out victorious has only been possible because of never-dwindling courage of women in business.
Another factor that helps women succeed on the professional front is their ability to express their thoughts in a way the listener understands. Most women are able to present their thoughts concisely given that they self-introspect a lot. This can be another attribution to their well-preparedness.
When a woman is judged of being less capable, it instills some apprehensions. For that matter, when this woman will face a big client, or deliver a deal-breaking presentation, she will be more conscious, prepare more, work harder, to prove her mettle and contribute for the company growth. Challenges make a person and someone who has dealt with them will even be more prepared.
When a woman in a family steps out to make a living, it passes on to the future generations. Statistics have revealed that women with working mothers develop confidence and job preparedness better than other women whose mothers stayed at home. While home-making is a serious business as well, for women in business, it is certainly helpful when it runs in the family. The reason is simple – such women are aware of how hectic the job can get, accept their challenges well enough, and are more aware of the accepted payroll in the industry.
In various economic sectors, women are leading. A comparison between men and women leaders will be highly skewed, but the gap is decreasing.
Women leaders in professional, scientific, and technical services – 15.4%
Women leaders in real estate and rental and leasing – 9.5%
Women leaders in retail trade – 5.6%
Today, women leaders hold approximately 17% of the boardroom chairs in the Fortune top 500 companies against a feeble 9.6% in 1995 [Source].
Amongst the strong women leaders who shone in their careers are Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Indra Nooyi, Pepsico CEO, YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki, IBM CEO Meg Whitman and HP CEO Virginia “Ginni” Rometty.
Success stories of many curious and focused women prove that there’s no barrier that cannot be overcome. If you aspire to be a working woman, steer clear of the naysayers and clarify your purposes, and challenge your possibilities.
To do what you love and to love what you do, is the key.
Mental health awareness means creating a world of empathy and coping with the stigma associated with it. Half the goal of this mission is achieved when the society accepts mental illness as real as physical illness. The other half is dealing with the problem and being sensitive towards the patients. We need to acknowledge mental illness, talk it out, and find solutions.Interestingly, Virtual Reality has come up as an approachable and novel method for treating types of mental health concerns. It has emerged as a viable solution for healing general stress, anxiety, tremors and phobias, depression and related disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).The technology has been tested in secured and controlled environments in the form of virtual reality exposure therapy – VRET. With the prominence of VR headsets like HTC Vive, Microsoft Hololens, and VRXOne, the testing has become affordable and convenient. The scenario is far better than the mid-1990s when a head-mounted display rig would cost over $50,000. VRET has given a pragmatic direction to Telemedicine, which in turn opens doors to better healthcare conditions in rural and remote areas.Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure Therapy are two prominent psychotherapeutic treatments for mental health. Under CBT, the patient attends a series of sessions where the target is to find the cause of disorder by analyzing the thought pattern of the patient and peeping into the history of phobia. The behavior of patient under challenging situations is recorded from which the source of their beliefs and notions is traced.For instance, if a patient is afraid of height, they will avoid climbing tall buildings. If they are insecure, they will avoid social gatherings. Calling them unsocial would not be a solution. It will only exacerbate the situation. CBT gives as a medium of tackling these situations and overcoming them. Exposure Therapy (ET), as the name suggests, is a treatment where the patient is exposed to such challenging situations and is gradually impelled to face them. In the real world, the exposure therapy requires extensive care and safety measures, thus making it nonviable in many situations like emulating a war zone, a crowded area, or a free fall! Also, ET goes hand in hand with CBT and is an obligatory part of it. Different kinds of health issues call for different CBTs and ETs. Another enterprise has come up with the concept of artificially intelligent virtual patients. Patients can open up to these virtual assistants whom they often trust more than doctors. Overcoming the fear of judgment, patients are able to get rid of social awkwardness. The physicians can then conduct clinical interviews and diagnostic assessments on these avatars. Facing a situation in a real therapy can be off-putting for many because the patients are usually reticent and sometimes unable to explain their behaviors. Another application of VR involves operationalizing the technology by training autistic patients and helping them gain necessary social skills. In tackling the persecutory delusions like in psychosis, VR has come out as successful again.
A Worthwhile Story Upholding The Power of Virtual Reality
Mel Slater, a professor of virtual environments shares an interesting story. “I was in one session where the guy had such a fear of public speaking that he told us about speaking at his daughter’s wedding. When we asked, ‘How old is your daughter?’, he said, ‘Three!’He was later asked to speak in front of a virtual audience. Initially, he resisted, ‘I can’t do this, I’m turning bright red, my voice is an octave higher.’ The psychologist urged him to give it a shot and later played his video-recording asking, ‘Is your face red? No. Are you speaking an octave higher than normal? No.’ What Slater did in one afternoon would have taken 12 weeks otherwise. The result was warm and welcomed. The relevance of VR was also proven by the creation of ‘avatars’ to cope with anxiety and depression. The logic behind this simulation is rather interesting and a tad-bit twisted. The therapy happens in two stages.First of all, an avatar is created that embodies the patient who explains his problems to the psychiatrist in the therapy session. The avatar looks similar to the person and responds like him. In the next therapy session, an avatar is created of the psychiatrist and the patient embodies it. Now the psychiatrist’s avatar, maneuvered by the patient, talks to the patient’s avatar. So technically, it is the patient talking to himself. Switching roles and helping oneself – that’s the underlying idea. Why, you ask? Because we are generally too harsh and critical of ourselves. Through the virtual therapy, the patient is able to realize the problem and immerse oneself to find a solution. Here, the technology helps in the most impactful yet smooth way.Do we need to open up more about health issues? It’s a no-brainer. Of course, we do. Virtual Reality gives a chance to embrace and uplift people. We seem to have found a viable solution for improving mental health.
Imagine you’re in a foreign land. You do not understand the language of this place, nor do you seem to know the ways. You happen to be alien to the language on the road signs and the money vending machine. Anxious and panicked, your hands stumble upon the pocket and you wish to dial up the number of an acquaintance or rescuer, only to find a blank screen, totally unreadable.
This might be horrifying to you, but then you know, it’s hypothetical.
For some people, it’s the gist of their lives. The world of visually impaired people is not much different than this.
Automatic gadgets all around and yet we expect the visually challenged to hold a stick and find their way. Scientists have invented more things than any Guinness Book will be able to record. However, very less has fallen in the kitty of the blind where their lives haven’t changed much.
Smartness is a virtue to some people but these people have to have it. From environmental challenges to social apprehensions, life can anytime throw unexpected trials.
What are major challenges of the visually impaired outdoors?
Traveling in a crowded metro and walking by a lane of fast moving vehicles can be dangerous. Down to this reason, people usually accompany a friend or family member.
Also, at the home or workplace, they need to be familiar with the blockages like a table, chair, doors, and any potentially harmful obstacle. The walkways need to be clear but not every place is made that friendly.
Even the public conveniences like toilets are usually not customized for blinds. Such challenges hinder the growth opportunities of these people and limit the possibilities for progress.
The simple yet the very important access, that is the internet is not available to many who are deprived of the advanced technologies. Obtaining and maintaining a job are also far-fetched dreams for many since people usually focus on the disability than the other abilities in them.
The world has developed but not much for the blind people. A century ago, a Brit photographer had invented a white cane so that his surroundings could identify his condition. A hundred years later today, not many path-breaking projects that could prove life changing for these individuals are present.
How is Augmented Reality helping Visually Impaired?
AIRA, a platform to the rescue of visually impaired people came into existence. The brainchild of the three enthusiastic professionals, Suman Kanuganti, Yuja Chang, and blind communications professional Matt Brock, the technology is intended to bestow autonomy and independent outlook to the unsighted. Through its transformative remote assistive technology, the differently abled person is connected with AIRA’s certified agents through an Augmented Reality dashboard. The certified agents are able to see what the visually challenged person faces in real life. The agents then guide them through the way and help them make sound decisions.
The concept is so simple and beautiful, that it’s amusing why someone couldn’t come up with the idea any sooner.
The meaning behind AIRA is deeper than you would imagine. Pronounced as EYE-rah, the technology derives its name from the combination of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and RA (an ancient Egyptian mythological symbol meaning Eye of Ra. The eye of RA is a representative of protection, healing, and the power to perceive.
Aira’s Certified Agents:
Joining the team means helping people and being soulfully satisfied. The unprecedented technology helps the blind enjoy the world and travel around without the need of an assistant all the time. With a strong desire to help people, AIRA makes it easy to explore the world through its real-time request feature which provides a virtual friend. The great feature is that the wearable device can connect to any smartphone pretty easily and is durable.
While providing help whenever required and wherever, AIRA is making a bold step towards the emancipation of those who were left with a stick.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are two closely knit terms. Well, both the technologies are surprisingly identical. However, a big difference lies in the way simulations are created. Here, will discuss these technologies from the healthcare perspective.
VR is a potentially new world, AR is a tool. Both satisfy a human’s quest for immersion. You might have a big mobile screen, a much bigger television, but you’ll still fall for the grandeur and majestic experiences of Augmented Reality. Move over the 2-D visuals or 3-D graphics, here is a technology that helps you view more in your surroundings.
Besides being a technology that fascinates, it is lifesaving!
Through Augmented Reality, the users are deeply rooted in the real life, and, simultaneously, they can access the far-fetched information. That is where the future of Augmented Reality (AR) in healthcare finds scope. The technology is building its route for prophylactic, therapeutic, or cosmetic applications.
One transformative example of AR applications is in breast surgery. Breast augmentation is the most prominent cosmetic surgeries performed that help enhance an individual’s confidence. These surgeries make the breasts larger, firmer and more fuller. The journey for breast enlargement where your morale transforms from under confident to confident helps one embrace their body.
An adept cosmetic surgeon must match the expectations of the patient and Augmented Reality extends a helping hand in guaranteeing the same. In order that the patients gain maximum satisfaction out of their surgery and explain their requirements clearly, the AR technology helps them to preview their breast shape before getting under the knife. This helps the physician and the patient be on the same page and achieve the motive of the process – embracing oneself.
Dr. Kyle Song, a renowned cosmetic surgeon in the USA confirms that his surgery success rates have grown up to 90% with the patients being satisfied after the procedure, all because they can foresee themselves and explain their anxieties in real time via AR. The patients can walk through a real-time demo and be sure of their decisions, he adds.
In a similar manner, live simulation and 3D experiences help patients make the most out of their dental visits. The dynamic AR technology in the dental world helps the patients foresee their improved self where they have the perfect set of teeth and a flawless smile, who would not want to flaunt a perfect Julia Roberts smile?
The technology in healthcare helps the patients, doctors, and lab technicians to work in sync and make the best-suited dentures. The patient also gets to try out different sets in the simulated set-up. An individual finding it hard to decide whether or not to opt for a makeover can preview himself with a shining white pair of teeth and can overcome his moral impediments.
Another department of health care that AR is improving is ophthalmology. Oftentimes, while visiting an optometrist, patients find it difficult to explain their disorders. There are some who exaggerate and some who disparage their problems. Without apt diagnosis, the healing process might take longer. A new augmented reality application helps the doctors show the patients different optical disorders through simulation and identify the disorder.
The technology also improves the assistance methods about how the nurses attend patients. There is a constant challenge faced by both when the intravenous injections are not inserted properly. To combat this problem, came an invention of accurately finding the veins by means of augmented reality. A handheld scanner applied on the skin highlights the vein that multiplies the chances of injecting the syringe in the right vein.
Apart from these innovations, Augmented Reality also helps in motivating people to run. There is this technology in healthcare that creates a simulated environment making the user feel as if a zombie were following him, instinctively persuading him to run. It is recreational and motivational, both in a way, are you ready to ready to try it?
Another technology where AR in healthcare is being put to use is an application that can help the patients requiring emergency help. The automated external defibrillators or AEDs are set up by the users which can be detected by the application. People using the app can navigate and identify those near to them, requiring medical help. Thus, a crucial information delivered in minutes and a life is saved!
Understanding prescriptions, providing assistance in surgeries, studying anatomy, or using contact lenses, well, Augmented Reality in Healthcare holds the supremacy of escalating the user experience in every facet.
A trauma surgeon and associate professor at the University of Maryland, Sarah Murthi gave her views about AR in healthcare, “People don’t like their doctor to look at computers. It’s better for patients if somebody’s looking at you.” About the technology, she also says, “I think ultimately all of us hope that this will bring back more of the humanitarian component to the patient-physician relationship.”
Michael Aratow, the Chief Medical Information Officer of San Mateo Medical Center believed that augmented reality is playing a huge role in the medical field, and some of these examples of medical AR were fascinating.
Dr. Sana Farid, the Co-Founder of a Bahrain based Learning & Development company, Munfarid says, “Augmented Reality in healthcare gives the patients an option to choose the best services through comparison. With quick and easy treatments, it is possible to offer value based medical care.”
Perhaps augmented reality is one of the rarest innovations for doctors and patients, both. There’s huge potential.