Virtual Reality Brings About Real Change

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14 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

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Virtual Reality Brings About Real
Change

Andres Garcia (agarcia4@umd.edu)

Majoring in Computer Science

Science, Technology, and Society

CPSP227 (Spring 2011)
-
Dr.
Tomblin


Introduction
:

Virtual reality started out as a fictional topic. It
was first introduced in novels and short stories
as an abstraction of today’s virtual reality
involving electrical impulses and virtual
individuals (later these would be called avatars).
Then it went on to be in movies and TV shows.
As software and hardware improved, people
began to develop prototypes and inventions that
applied virtual reality. Now virtual reality is being
used in many fields, and it is being used for the
good of humanity.

According to the Virtual Reality Medical Center
in San Diego, CA, “
cybertherapy

can be defined
as the use of advanced technologies, such as
the Internet
or virtual
reality, as an adjunct to
traditional forms of therapy
.”
Cybertherapy

is not
well
-
known because it is still under research and
it is still being developed.

Figure 1
.
The Matrix

Source: http://
www.valdostamuseum.org/

The movie
The Matrix
discusses the idea that our current reality
is actually a virtual world we are hooked up to. This movie gives
viewers a false perspective of what virtual reality actually is.

STS Framework:
Social Construction

According to Dictionary.com, a social construct
is
“a
social mechanism, phenomenon, or
category created and developed by society; a
perception of an individual, group, or idea that is
'constructed' through cultural or social
practice.”

Social construction is the perfect STS
framework for this topic because virtual reality
and
cybertherapy

were created and shaped by
society.

STS

Claim
:

Virtual

reality

has

evolved

from

a

fictional

subject

to

a

very

useful

field

in

medicine

and

science
.

The

main

reason

for

this

evolution

is

the

changes

within

society’s

priorities,

concerns,

and

interests
.

Figure 2.

Can Training in Second Life Teach Doctors to Save Real Lives
?”
Source: http
://
discovermagazine.com/

SecondLife

is better known for its entertainment aspect, but scientists are
trying to figure out different ways of using virtual reality to better train
doctors and further develop
cybertherapy
.

Figure 4.
Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy. Source:
http
://
www.technovelgy.com/

Soldiers are being treated for their post
-
traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) by using virtual worlds in which they (as
well as they doctors involved) have control of their
environments and can slowly but effectively recuperate.

Fields at Work:

Interpretive Flexibility:


Virtual

realty

and

cybertherapy

have

spread

through

the

entertainment,

medical,

and

simulation

industries
.

This

allows

for

people

to

use

these

technologies

in

different

ways
.

Psychologists,

computer

scientists,

and

researchers

(just

to

name

a

few)

worked

together

to

create

the

software

and

headwear

necessary

to

treat

psychological

disorders
.

They

set

out

to

treat

many

disorders,

such

as

post
-
traumatic

stress

disorder

(anxiety

developed

from

physical

harm

or

threat),

and

phobias,

such

as

agoraphobia

(fear

of

open

or

public

places)

and

arachnophobia

(fear

of

spiders)
.


The

entertainment

world

set

out

to

amaze

consumers

with

the

Xbox

360
’s

Kinect

system
.

This

system

applies

virtual

reality

in

order

for

users

to

play

virtual

sports
.

The

army

and

many

other

industries

are

starting

to

train

their

employees

with

virtual

worlds

in

order

to

use

time

more

efficiently
.

Conclusion
:

Society

has

shaped

the

way

we

view

and

use

virtual

reality
.

From

entertainment

to

medical

purposes,

virtual

reality

and

cybertherapy

have

evolved

around

society’s

needs
.

People

are

thinking

differently

about

virtual

reality

and

they

are

starting

to

see

its

potential

to

better

different

aspects

of

life
.

Figure 3.

Virtual Reality Pain Reduction. Source: www.hitl.washington.edu/

This is an example of how doctors are using
cybertherapy

in order to
lessen the pain that burn victims feel when being treated. The patients
become so immersed in these virtual environments that their minds focus
on something other than the pain.

Past

vs
.

Future
:

Controversy
:

Virtual

reality

has

a

big

stigma

due

to

its

fictional

origins
.

Many

people

still

think

that

virtual

reality

is

a

technology

of

the

past
.

These

perspectives

are

based

on

science

fiction

novels,

movies,

and

TV

shows
.

Some

people

are

asking
:

If

this

technology

can

trick

the

brain

into

thinking

virtual

worlds

are

real,

then

what

is

real?

Are

there

any

negative

long
-
term

effects

on

the

human

mind

from

this

technology?

Will

some

people

like

virtual

worlds

better

than

real

life
?

Stabilization
:

Cybertherapy

is

still

in

its

developing

stages

even

though

it

has

helped

many

people
.

Once

more

institutions

believe

in

this

type

of

virtual

reality,

it

will

be

viewed

by

the

public

with

greater

respect

and

appreciation
.