As the coronavirus pandemic continues to pause in-person teaching, a psychology class on virtual reality (VR) therapies enters a new dimension.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of the VR medium is its ability to cause individuals to feel like they are in the same space together, without the requirement for travel, an unmistakable success for the earth and better utilization of time and budget plans. These virtual environments can be intended for optimal comfort, productivity and creativity.

Typically used for research and selective teaching on virtual reality therapies for conditions including phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, pain and eating disorders, a VR lab in the School of Psychology is now being used solely to teach these therapies to undergraduate and postgraduate students.

In a lesson on phobias, for example, students handled virtual spiders and looked down from the roofs of the buildings. In a lesson on eating disorders, students could adjust the body mass index for their own digital character and track their eye movements to reveal preferences for healthy and unhealthy food items.

Veterinary science students have also used it to collaboratively disassemble, assemble and label canine anatomy.

An extra advantage of VR is that all distractions are expelled and individuals can be completely focused around what is going on around them. Indeed, MeetinVR claims that there is a 25% increase in attention span when meeting in Virtual Reality compared with video conferencing. Moreover, research recommends we hold more data and can better apply what we have learned subsequent to taking an interest in Virtual Reality.

Waterford-based VictoryXR focuses on virtual and augmented reality content for the education sector, specialising in science curriculum content such as virtual animal dissections. It has created more than 24 VR and AR learning experiences.

VR Education’s Engage platform is used to provide remote training, distance learning and also hosts global virtual events.

“With virtual reality, you can interact, you can shake hands, you can look around your environment, it’s a lot different than just your bedroom or study,” students say. In the field of medical, these technologies have proved very helpful. This field has taken advantage of its enormous potential especially in creating simulations for the training of professionals in surgical procedures. These kind of simulations put students in situations that they may encounter in their real lives.

Military was one of the first industries that invested an awful lot of money into the development of virtual reality applications, VR headsets and VR platforms.