Sarah Hill’s virtual reality headset allows her to experience different environments while helping with pain management.
Following a hypoxic brain injury, Sarah Hill needed full-time care but now, virtual reality is opening up new worlds, from the deep sea to outer space where all come from the comfort of her nursing home.
“I can’t walk but I can feel light and can walk,” she said. “You can go under the sea, see all these fish. It eases my anxiety. I find the virtual reality kit is very helpful.”
After trials at several NHS trusts, the government said deep technology had the potential to “transform” therapy and healthcare.
Ms. Hill’s physiotherapist, Pamela Hicken said her VR kit “encourages movement” and interaction.
“I have a resident who can’t speak who is now talking to people or animals in video,” he said.
VR has grown exponentially in the global healthcare sector.
The chief executive of the Welsh government’s life sciences hub Cari-Anne Quinn said: “Immersive technology is helping to prove the future of our health and social care systems in Wales and beyond.”
And Oxford VR founder Prof Daniel Freeman, who has backed the government’s National Institutes of Health Research, told BBC News: “My view is it will play a major role in the future, due to the positive results we are seeing.”
Overall, the VR industry is expected to reach a value of $ 1.2bn (£ 900m) globally by 2024.
According to communications regulator Ofcom, one in 17 UK households will have a VR headset by early 2020 and the Statista company estimates 6.1 million will be sold by the end of 2021. But some experts warn about the risks.
A report by VR business and government, The Growing Value of Extended Reality in the UK, identifies potential problems that include nausea and fatigue, if the technology is poorly designed.
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