In this blog post, I will be updating you on my progress with the project and presentation thus far. In my last post, I was discussing what direction to take this project in. VR was solid, but the content was still very loose. I was considering using horror and either just recording people’s reactions, or recording their reactions then building a simulation off it. Several weeks have passed since that point, and my project has indeed progressed much further.
I have since looked into further uses of VR. I have always known there were other uses but if I could at least teach those in my class and a smaller audience that there is more to VR than just games, it will inform them of the true potential of this platform.
To begin, I looked into its uses where military and medicinal training was concerned. I had already done research before and understood that this was something that had been in the workings for a while and thought it would a good point to begin at. I found many articles and sources on it, and it turns out that the British Ministry of Defence have been using VR since the 1980s to train their soldiers with a company called Plextec. The medium of which is not as sophisticated as today’s headset, but “Traditionally, they would construct hulking cabins in which new recruits could try out, in a simulated environment, the classroom theory of how to, for example, bandage a wound while under enemy fire, or how to inject transexamic acid to prevent a patient from haemorrhaging when the air is filled with smoke.”. These environments would be extremely expensive to build (around a few million pounds), so they weren’t widely used nor popular. However, with the rise of VR, this is all changing.
The argument for the use of VR in military training is that simulations allow for intricate details to be included in the training that cannot be done with the current methods. In a base camp, a soldier will not have to run past a fallen comrade bleeding out, nor will he have his opponents coming straight at him and look at their faces as he aims and fires. For a lot of soldiers, this is a traumatising thing to experience when they first go to war. Base camps cannot prepare one for these sights, yet VR can. Pre-exposing them can eradicate the shock to come. It also allows them to face being “killed” in the game environment so they can better themselves for the next time.
That is just one of the very many uses of VR, the next I will be exploring is medicine.
VR is being used similarly here for training various medical practitioners. Ranging from critical surgeries to teaching CPR, simulations contribute greatly to training here. Although it is yet to be in full use, the benefits are aplenty. As with military training, there is only so much a surgeon in training can learn from dissecting body parts and observation, practise makes perfect. Also, a software allows for mistakes to happen whereas a real patient may not be as forgiving. Along with this, a studying practitioner can be exposed to worst case scenarios which may hardly happen in real life which will prepare them for dastardly situations.
Now, where I want to take my project is another space of VR I am yet to mention. This area is mental therapy which helps veterans deal with PSTD. A mix of both military and medicine, I thought this would be a good area to apply my skills. I am, unfortunately, not skilled enough to build a fully-functioning warzone nor a very sick person with all the organs in the correct place with a specific procedure to follow. However, I can create environments and apply a small area of code to manipulate such things as plants to sway in the wind and other such things. I want to make an enchanting, calming environment for said veteran to explore (think the forest in Avatar with mundane plants). So far, it is still in building progress, but is coming along quite well as I watch tutorials to refresh my memory. However, I will be updating my blog as I build and work out this soon-to-be paradise.