Recognition of VR’s potential as a diagnostic tool is also growing. Cambridge University is leading a three-year study on the use of VR to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, following preliminary results indicating that it was more accurate than traditional “gold-standard” cognitive tests[i].
Mindfulness, which draws on both Western psychology and Oriental Buddhist tradition, has gained considerable traction within health and care services over recent years as a method of reducing anxiety and promoting well-being, and VR apps seeking to make its techniques accessible to a wider public have proliferated.
In the Netherlands, DEEP VR has produced a headset that reinforces deep-breathing patterns with images and lighting in a VR headset to help users reduce anxiety through meditation. Trials have shown that it is effective in reducing anxiety among emotionally and behaviourally disturbed children.
The Mindfulness Centre of Excellence in London, which aims to provide an information hub for innovation promoting the practice, offers an audit called Mindful 360 for medtech firms producing mindfulness apps to ensure that the design process reaps maximum benefits for users.