Five steps that vir­tual re­al­ity is tak­ing to­wards our sci-fi vi­sions

The ex­cit­ing ways in which VR is be­com­ing the big­gest tech game changer of the decade

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION -

Lon­don’s Royal Fes­ti­val Hall is putting vis­i­tors cen­tre-stage with one of the world’s top or­ches­tras us­ing cut­ting- edge tech­nol­ogy. Vir­tual- re­al­ity ( VR) head­sets and a cylin­dri­cal bank of speak­ers de­liver the full im­pact of the Phi­lar­mo­nia Orches­tra’s per­for­mance of Mahler’s Third Sym­phony. Vis­i­tors can turn their heads and fo­cus on any mu­si­cian, or toetap­ping mem­bers of the au­di­ence, from their van­tage point in front of the con­duc­tor. The setup can be recre­ated off- site, mean­ing live per­for­mances could be po­ten­tially beamed into cin­e­mas, while school­child­ren could wan­der through world- class or­ches­tras and watch maestros at work. The three women fea­tur­ing in a re­cent ad­vert for French lux­ury la­bel Bal ma i n are now a talk­ing point in the fash­ion cir­cuit. Shudu, Mar­got and Zhi are ‘dig­i­tal mod - els’, whose rise is di­vid­ing the fash­ion world. The com­puter- gen­er­ated trio of Bal­main’s new cam­paign is an ex­am­ple of fash­ion brands em­brac­ing tech­nol­ogy to lure dig­i­tal­savvy younger clients. The best known of the three is Shudu, the dig­i­tal model cre­ated by vis­ual artist Cameron- James Wil­son last year. She has her own In­sta­gram ac­count with 1,45,000 fol­low­ers. She is de­scribed as ‘the world’s first dig­i­tal su­per­model’. A new vir­tual re­al­ity com­puter game will lay the ground­work for a new test for de­men­tia. With the help of Swiss and Bri­tish sci­en­tists and Alzheimer’s char­i­ties, Bri­tish firm Gl­itch­ers has de­signed Sea Hero Quest VR to be able to cap­ture data from those play­ing it — what ac­tions they take, where they look and for how long. VR head­sets will send anony­mous data about their abil­i­ties and move­ments that can then be as­sessed by neu­ro­sci­en­tists. This could prove vi­tal in de­tect­ing the early signs of de­men­tia be­cause one of the first abil­i­ties lost to the de­gen­er­a­tive con­di­tion is

nav­i­ga­tion. Vir­tual re­al­ity med­i­cal com­pany VRHealth is us­ing Ocu­lus Go and Rift to pro­vide VR tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions for a va­ri­ety of health chal­lenges, from pain man­age­ment for ex­pect­ing moth­ers and can­cer pa­tients dur­ing chemo­ther­apy to al­le­vi­at­ing pa­tient anx­i­ety be­fore and af­ter surgery. The com­pany has its VR plat­form in 30 lo­ca­tions across the US, from hospi­tals to re­hab cen­tres and out­pa­tient cen­tres. Peo­ple’s per­cep­tion of real food can be al­tered by us­ing vir­tual re­al­ity, ac­cord­ing to a study which found that the en­vi­ron­ment plays a crit­i­cal part i n our eat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Hu­mans not only rel­ish the sweet, savoury and salti­ness of foods, but they are inf lu­enced by the sur­round­ings in which they eat, ac­cord­ing to the study pub­lished in The Jour­nal of Food Science. The pur­pose of the project was to de­velop an easy-to-im­ple­ment method for adapt­ing vir­tual re­al­ity tech­nol­ogy for use in food sen­sory eval­u­a­tion.

Royal Fes­ti­val Hall, Lon­don

Com­puter gen­er­ated mod­els Mar­got, Shudu and Zhi

VR health ap­pli­ca­tions cater to var­i­ous ages and needs

A still from Sea Hero Quest VR

Per­cep­tion of real food can be al­tered by us­ing VR

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