Visual Reality(VR) is a technology that lets you enter a completely new world sitting right in the comfort of your home. Put on a VR headset and it creates a three-dimensional virtual environment for you. You can fly around in a spaceship in an alien world. Or take a dip in the ocean to take a swim with the fishes. Or even play your favorite video games. However, apart from fun activities, VR is being more and more used by scientists for their research work.
The connection between the brain and language:
David Peeters is a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands. He studies the activities of a brain while it is conversing. He is using VR for the same. The people put on 3D glasses and enter a virtual restaurant and communicate with virtual people. And their brain activities are mapped onto a computer. Peeters says that this research might someday help understand autism more accurately.
As a way to relax:
Wim Veling is a psychiatrist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He is also trying to help out his patients using VR. For people suffering from anxiety and depression, a way of treatment is the dolphin therapy. The patients are to swim with the dolphins, which helps them relax. Since it is not always a very practical option, Veling is trying to recreate the same as VR. He hopes it would have positive results.
In California, it was observed that the salmon born in the Sacramento River were reaching the sea too early and were being eaten up by the predators. A way out was to keep these salmons in flooded rice fields till they grow a bit and then release them into the sea. Jeanette Newmiller, a water-resources engineer at the University of California is trying to do the same by making computer models through VR.