Virtual reality does not belong only to entertainment and pop-culture. VR an AR technology can be optimized for application in different spheres, one of which is mental health care. During the DTW 2018GGzE’s VR-hub and the VR-Health Consortium (MaMaProducties, Mind Mansion, Unit 040) demonstrate how VR treatment is used to make the treatment of mental illnesses more effective. The visitors of DTW 2018 will have the opportunity to have the VR treatment experience with the demos like Relaxation Space, Fear of Flight, VR-tigo, Claustrofobia and others.

Date: 6th of June
Location: Effenaar
Time: 12:00 – 17:00

“We are going to present demos of VR treatments for some of the most common phobias – the ones which are based on our instincts and hence are more or less familiar to any person. These are the fears of height, water, confined spaces,” says Frederike Manders, the Community Developer for the VR/AR industry in Eindhoven. “Some of the demos will be accompanied by neuro- and bio-feedback. Neuro-feedback is provided by EEG sensors reading brain activity during the demo and bio-feedback is produced by a reading of the physiological signals of the patients (heart rate, perspiration, etc.) Reading the patient’s signals during the VR-therapy helps to make the treatment more individual. When the fear peaks during the session, bio-feedback prevents going beyond patient’s limits.”

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“VR treatment of mental disorders has been in use for some time as a part of the traditional anxiety disorders treatment. It enables the healthcare workers to expose the patient to the fear-inducing situation without putting him into the real one. With VR this can be done as many times and as frequently as it is necessary. Adding neurofeedback and biofeedback to this treatment can shorten the learning curve for the patient, whose goal it is to learn how to control the fear triggered by particular situations. Moreover, VR also makes the therapy less expensive in comparison to the non-VR treatment: for example, previously the only option for the patient with fear of flight was to take actual flights as it was necessary for the therapy.” Among other benefits of VR treatment is also the possibility to rent VR kits to the patients for home usage during the time of therapy.

VR-hub that delivers the presentation on VR demos during the DTW 2018, was founded in 2017 to be a place of collaboration between healthcare providers and technical companies of Eindhoven working with VR. During the time that VR hub has been active, new collaborations appeared: the most recent one is between TU/e, Tilburg University and GGzE – Academic Collaborative Centre technological and social innovation for Mental Health.“This will lead to more intensive collaboration in the near future,” says Joep Kolijn, the founder of VR-Hub.

VR-hub is reaching the end users of the products as well, which is done through the healthcare network, workshops and Welshop on VR hub’s webpage.

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Author profile picture Olga Koltsova is a writer. She is fascinated by the innovative power of Eindhoven, the revolutionary technologies and the unique multicultural society.