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Researchers Develop A New Virtual Reality App That Can Help Overcome Fear of Heights

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A researchers’ team at the University of Basel have recently developed a smartphone-based virtual reality application that can potentially lessen acrophobia. Currently, the researchers are conducting a clinical trial of the app to determine its efficacy. The participants for the said trial who underwent training session for four hours in total using the app have reportedly shown the training has significantly improved their capability of handling real high-altitude situations.

Fear of heights or acrophobia is a very common phenomenon. Around 5% of the general population is found to experience an enervating fear and discomfort in high-altitude circumstances. The affected people rarely take the advantage of treatment options available today, one of the major reasons being the limitation of recreating the actual height situations. To aid the treatment process, the research team led by Professor Dominique de Quervain has developed Eyesight— a smartphone-based VR exposure therapy app. Eyesight utilizes 360° images of actual locations captured using drones and creates realistic height situations. People can use this app easily on their smartphones along with a special VR headset.

Therapy from the comfort of your living room
Therapy from the comfort of your living room

Gradually raising the height 

During the virtual reality training process, users are directed to stand on elevated platforms initially raised one meter above the ground. Giving them a certain period to acclimatize themselves, the platform rises automatically. The distance of the platform is raised slowly but steadily without increasing the user’s level of fear.

The efficacy of this method is studied by the researchers in a randomized, controlled trial and the results are published in the NPJ Digital Medicine journal. A total of fifty subjects with acrophobia participated in the trial, with some of them completing the four-hour training program using the Eyesight app and the rest being assigned to the control group. During the training, the participants ascended virtually the Uetliberg lookout tower near Zurich to the extent their limitations allowed them. The researchers then evaluated the results of 25 subjects from the control group and 22 from the training group. Data shows those who have completed the training exhibit less fear and are able to reach near the top. Thus, the efficacy of the VR app is deemed comparable to that of exposure therapy.

Therapy from the comfort of your living room

Researchers were already studying the efficacy of virtual reality in treating acrophobia for almost two decades. The current results indicate that the recurrent use of a mobile-based VR exposure therapy can significantly improve the subjective behavior in height situations. People suffering from mild acrophobia will be able to download the app soon and complete the free training sessions on their own. However, researchers recommend that those who have severe acrophobia should use the app under the supervision of professionals.

The current research is one among many ongoing projects at the Transfaculty Research Platform for Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences, headed by Professor Dominique de Quervain and Professor Andreas Papassotiropoulos. The mission of their project is to improve mental disorder treatments using advanced technology and make them widely available for everyone.

Source: https://immersive-technology.com/virtualreality/researchers-develop-a-new-virtual-reality-app-that-can-help-overcome-fear-of-heights/

AR/VR

Step Into the Cavernous C-17 With the RAF’s Latest 360 Video

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It’s been a while since VRFocus featured any 360-degree videos so here’s a new one that looked interesting. Created by the RAF Media Reserves for the RAF Police, it’s a chance to get up close to the RAF’s aircraft and assets for those who love aircraft or want to learn a bit more about the UK’s Royal Air Force.

Image credit: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

Recorded using Insta360’s Pro 2 and One R 360 cameras, the immersive experience takes viewers through several scenes starting with the cargo hold of a C-17. From there they can step into other areas only RAF personnel are allowed, like a hanger housing an A400M – with a dramatic viewpoint under the propellers.

As the video was created for the RAF Police, Flight Sergeant Neil ‘Josie’ Wales presents the entire experience, giving viewers a little bit of history alongside the various aspects of the job. These can range from routine criminal inquiries and large investigations to counterintelligence.

“We were acutely aware of the need for an initial ‘wow!’ factor, so we set our first scene in the cavernous empty hold of an RAF C-17 transport aircraft. As RAF reservists, we’d both experienced a sense of awe the first time we walked up the ramp into the belly of one of these beasts,” explains director Squadron Leader Tony Newton in a statement.

Image credit: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

“Our vision was to create an experience where the viewer is fully immersed in scenes that they wouldn’t normally have access to – standing directly underneath a landing C-130 Hercules or at the centre of a road traffic incident at night,” says Flight Lieutenant Paul Gale, the team’s director of photography and 360 expert.

In the two videos below you can watch the full 360-degree RAF Police experience and the behind-the-scenes footage. Or grab your Oculus Quest, Rift or Go headset to watch it in VR. For all the latest VR news, keep reading VRFocus.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/step-into-the-cavernous-c-17-with-the-rafs-latest-360-video-6042e96f08a672ad0fbd1976?s=rss

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AR/VR

Step Into the Cavernous C-17 With the RAF’s Latest 360 Video

Avatar

Published

on

It’s been a while since VRFocus featured any 360-degree videos so here’s a new one that looked interesting. Created by the RAF Media Reserves for the RAF Police, it’s a chance to get up close to the RAF’s aircraft and assets for those who love aircraft or want to learn a bit more about the UK’s Royal Air Force.

RAF Police
Image credit: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

Recorded using Insta360’s Pro 2 and One R 360 cameras, the immersive experience takes viewers through several scenes starting with the cargo hold of a C-17. From there they can step into other areas only RAF personnel are allowed, like a hanger housing an A400M – with a dramatic viewpoint under the propellers.

As the video was created for the RAF Police, Flight Sergeant Neil ‘Josie’ Wales presents the entire experience, giving viewers a little bit of history alongside the various aspects of the job. These can range from routine criminal inquiries and large investigations to counterintelligence.

“We were acutely aware of the need for an initial ‘wow!’ factor, so we set our first scene in the cavernous empty hold of an RAF C-17 transport aircraft. As RAF reservists, we’d both experienced a sense of awe the first time we walked up the ramp into the belly of one of these beasts,” explains director Squadron Leader Tony Newton in a statement.

RAF Police
Image credit: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

“Our vision was to create an experience where the viewer is fully immersed in scenes that they wouldn’t normally have access to – standing directly underneath a landing C-130 Hercules or at the centre of a road traffic incident at night,” says Flight Lieutenant Paul Gale, the team’s director of photography and 360 expert.

In the two videos below you can watch the full 360-degree RAF Police experience and the behind-the-scenes footage. Or grab your Oculus Quest, Rift or Go headset to watch it in VR. For all the latest VR news, keep reading VRFocus.

Checkout PrimeXBT
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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/03/step-into-the-cavernous-c-17-with-the-rafs-latest-360-video/

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DJI’s VR goggles let you see the world from your drone’s point of view – Future Blink

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The DJI FPV Combo racing drone gives you a real-time, immersive drone-flying experience thanks to VR googles.  Read more…

More about Mashable Video, Vr Headset, Dji, Fpv, and Dji Drones

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/djis-vr-goggles-let-you-see-the-world-from-your-drones-point-of-view-and8211-future-blink-60429dbe15fdffce064bf2b1?s=rss

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Preview: Z-Race – Futuristic Toy Car Racing

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As a kid did you ever grab toy cars or planes and whizz them around the house pretending they were racing? Well, that’s what it kind of feels like playing XOCUS’ new virtual reality (VR) videogame Z-Race – minus the screaming parents – a futuristic racing title that will immediately make you think of WipEout yet offers a very different gameplay experience.

Z-Race immediately stands out thanks to its visual style, the anti-grav vehicles looking awesome thanks to a mixture of F1 and spaceship inspiration. While the tracks tend to be mostly tubular in construction there are moments when they open up, providing stunning views among the clouds or racing through icy, industrialised terrain.

For its Early Access launch on Steam for HTC Vive, Valve Index and Oculus Rift, you’ll be able to pilot 10 vehicles split across three-speed grades, three in grades three and two with four ships in the fastest grade one. Gaining access to the next grade requires upgrading one vehicle to the max, which you can only do by collecting coins on the track or by winning. These are split down into Acceleration, Top Speed and Nitro sections, each with three upgrade slots. So each race is a careful balance between keeping that perfect line or trying to collect those coins.

When it comes to the tracks there are 12 in total, split across Bronze, Silver and Gold cups. Unlike the variety found in the ships, the tracks only have four terrains, so by the time you enter the Gold cup they can feel somewhat repetitive. XOCUS does try to mitigate some of this by increasing the number of obstacles, so not only do you have other opponents flying around you there are red cylinders that will instantly slow you down – they’ll even ricochet if someone in front hits one – and red walls to thread through. In some of the tighter tunnels, it can be quite the challenge trying to feed your way through everything.

To help in these scenarios you have slow-mo and nitro to use, the former can only be used three times per race whilst nitro appears as blue orbs on the track. So far this all sounds like a blistering sci-fi racer – albeit without any weapons – offering face-melting speeds and intense competition.

However, if you’re a fan of VR racing games you’ll know inside the vehicle is where the action is, it’s the only true way of feeling that sense of speed. Z-Racer doesn’t, in fact, as its entirely third-person. There aren’t any actual options because of the control mechanics XOCUS has employed, great for comfort, not so much for speed. As VRFocus alluded to earlier, Z-Racer’s controls are like holding a toy in your hand, the controller becoming the ship. It’s a similar format to Shooty Skies Overdrive, all you need to do is move your hand around the track.

While this may not sit well with racing fans it does mean a generally comfortable experience even with all the undulating track design. It does take a moment to get used to but it provides a different experience to more conventional titles like Radial-G: Proteus.

As for the competitive aspect, Z-Race doesn’t offer your standard multiplayer where you have to wait for other players. Instead, the only mode currently available is Asynchronous Racing, where there are other racers on the track who represent other players times. The benefit of this system is no wait times, just dive straight into a race, and you do get that pseudo-competitive feel even though you know no one else is competing at that moment.

Currently, the content available means you’ll see all Z-Race has to offer in under an hour, going back through each course once you’ve supped up the best ships to gain a prominent leaderboard position. Yet Z-Race is an Early Access title and XOCUS’ plans for more content could radically change the experience. An actual head-to-head mode is planned for Q2 2021 which could really add some much-needed depth to the gameplay. Far more radical is the proposition of a cockpit mode. This idea is being looked at due to player feedback and if implemented would completely alter the control scheme, likely two very different racing modes.

For now, though, Z-Race offers a very average racing experience. It’s enjoyable for that initial hour then begins to wain unless you really want that number one position. There’s plenty of potential to be unlocked as the quality of the graphics and smooth gameplay already set a high, premium bar so hopefully, the studio has plenty of content updates planned. Should that cockpit mode arrive then VRFocus will be revisiting Z-Race.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/preview-z-race-futuristic-toy-car-racing-60429509f46825a805bfb7dc?s=rss

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