Virtual Reality Enabling Researchers To View And Share Data As Never Before

Virtual Reality in Research
Image credit: Laurens Derks, Unsplash

When you put on a virtual reality (VR) headset, the world around you disappears and you step into a world that’s unknown to you. VR applications are giving science a new dimension. Researchers can easily conduct exciting experiments and interact with data using VR headsets.

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There are three types of VR headsets: a headset that works with your phone, headsets that connect to your PC, and standalone devices.

The cheapest method to access 3D content is to get a Google Cardboard or Daydream and insert your Android phone. The drawback here is that you can only turn around with your head rather than move back and forth or sideways, reports Sage Ocean.

Oculus Go, at an affordable price of $200, is the most popular standalone VR headset. While the immersion experience is better than mobile phone-dependent gear, it is limited in processing power and graphics.

If you want PC connected VR headsets, then you should go for HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. These headsets will give you the full immersive experience.

Haptic gloves allow researchers to streamline studies about the way people interact with objects and environments in VR. These haptic gloves make it easy to collect psychological and physiological data.

Augmented reality
Image: Pixabay

Eye-tracking is big in neuroscience, psychology, and clinical trials. There are numerous applications of eye-tracking in these fields. Vive Pro offers excellent eye-tracking features. Although the retail price of $799 may be too high, it’s worth the money. There are also cheaper alternatives. Chinese company 7invensun’s announced add-on will enable HTC Vive headsets to have eye-tracking. Researchers can spend $149 to get a deeper insight into their research.

ConfocalVR is a tool developed at Benaroya research institute. It uses VR to visualize images from confocal microscopes, made what was really happening “jump out within seconds”, according to Adam Lacy-Hulbert, a principal investigator at Benaroya.

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Although, VR and AR tools are now widely available, only a few labs are taking advantage of this technology. While many experts predict VR to become standard lab tools in the future, it remains to be seen how many labs actually adopt it.

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Cathy Russey
Cathy Russey () is Online Editor at WT | Wearable Technologies and specialized in writing about the latest medical wearables and enabling technologies on the market. Cathy can be contacted at info(at)