Stuck in the middle
Bringing together the leading players in VR and immersive technologies, Future Tech Now offered visitors the opportunity to explore the latest innovations hands-on.
I went along on Friday afternoon with notepad in tow, ready to write-up the next generation of VR use cases, but mainly to fight aliens as Iron Man (more to come on that later).
Ranging from Medical Realities’ VR surgery demo, a ground-breaking new way to train surgeons; to Icaros, a unique combination of VR gaming and exercise (think holding the plank while flying through the air); Future Tech Now exhibitors didn’t disappoint the promise of a ‘hands-on’ experience.
I’m more familiar with shooty games like Robo Recall, so it was a real eye-opener to experience other applications of VR technology beyond just gaming. Although I did eventually find myself pulled back to my comfort zone, playing Tony Stark defending New York.
After preventing an alien invasion for a good half hour, I went for another explore, and found myself chatting with an exhibitor for The Cornerstone Partnership.
Improving relationships with VR
In a less-obvious use for VR, The Cornerstone Partnership uses immersive technology to simply create empathy.
Lack of understanding is one of the biggest hurdles in social care in the UK. Foster parents and carers often work with children who carry huge psychological traumas from specific events in their lives. It can be difficult for these carers to fully understand how this affects the child’s behaviour as they grow up.
The Cornerstone Partnership creates VR content that lets you see through the eyes of an abused child. When I put the headset on, I was transported into the womb of a woman with drug problems, trapped in an abusive relationship. It was an unpleasant, surreal, yet truly moving experience that left by far the biggest impression on me from the day.
It was really cool to see how different people have interpreted the potential of immersive technologies; the potential good VR can do in social care is definitely one of the most intriguing use cases.
I’m sure next year’s event will showcase applications that today seem out of the question. I’m just hoping that the promise of another blog post will guarantee me a ticket.