Virtual reality (VR) combines video and audio to create an immersive experience for the user in an artificial environment which can be in 3D and often with 360 degrees of vision.
VR enables us to create a fully digital environment that simulates experiences that can be in an environment similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment and educational purposes. Other, distinct types of VR style technology include augmented reality and mixed reality.
The added value of this type of technology is the possibility of creating scenarios incredibly realistic. Although this technology was first implemented as gaming entertainment, nowadays its applications are still growing and it is having a particularly important impact in the Life Sciences field.
The possible applications of VR in this field are tremendous and still increasing. VR enables patients, doctors, or the general public to explore life in a way that never was possible before, by diving in a virtual reality space surrounded by thousand of realistic biological structures.
It has immense value for physicians and patients to understand diagnostics and treatment options. Traveling inside the body, feeling like molecules interact between them, and being able to fully understand the mechanism of action of drugs in an unforgettable way.
Richard Leach (QPS / Senior business Development) said: “It was just so interactive. You can really like to get involved and go right through the cells (…) it was really spectacular.”
Virtual Reality applications in life sciences
Its applications can be extended to a variety of fields such as research, education, and marketing. Since with VR, you can not only get inside the body but you can also interact actively as the controls are designed to follow your movements.
An example of its possible applications regarding patients’ education is the way VR simplifies and shortens the educational process about conditions or treatment plans.
In some cases, they can be used even as therapies themselves when used in visualization and relaxation exercises. Many treatment plans include exercise or therapy programs that a patient carries out under the guidance of a medical professional. Through the use of this tool, many of these therapies could become at-home sessions instead of requiring trips to a remote clinic or other care facilities.
In the case of the clinical setting, VR enables surgeons to use a heads up display to provide a data overlay on the patient’s body during surgery or to visualize the entire procedure during pre-surgical planning.
The cost and complexity of devices to create the experience and the supporting technology are dropping. As a result of the actual Covid-19 crisis, the use of VR tools within the pharmaceutical and biotech industries is increasing.
In 3DforScience we believe in the importance of VR and its possibilities, this is why we are continuously innovating and creating VR experiences in order to change the way science is delivered to people.