Oculus Rift Could Make Grueling Trips to Mars More Bearable
According to Washington Post, some of the researchers at Dartmouth DALI Lab are working on a new project which involves integration of immersive experiences from Oculus Rift into Virtual Space Station in order to help astronauts deal with the overwhelming psychological effects of long-duration space missions. Oculus Rift is an upcoming virtual reality head-mounted display (HMD) created by revolutionizing technology company, Oculus VR. Oculus Rift is already a big thing in the gaming and entertainment world where it has taken interactive gaming and immersion to another level altogether. However, NASA is currently working on virtual reality immersions that can be used to overcome psychological and physiological problems experienced by astronauts when they are traveling for a prolonged time through the space in small groups.
While the project is still under early period of development, researchers at Dartmouth DALI Lab are also working hard to find out the solution by using Oculus Rift. They want to incorporate the Rift into the research NASA has conducted as a means to find out the effects of space travel has on the human brain. During the long haul, astronauts can experience minor mood swings to major mood disorders. Researchers at Dartmouth’s Digital Arts Leadership and Innovation (DALI) are given a grant of $1.2 million by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) for their three year program. They are working to design virtual reality experiences for the Oculus Rift which can be incorporated with other interactive multimedia tools including the Virtual Space Station. If their research is successful, it will mean astronauts will be able to travel into the cold and dark space while acting against the negative psychological effects.
Lorie Loeb, executive director of the Dartmouth DALI Lab, told Washington Post that their first goal is to make a video which can be adapted to Oculus Rift. The video must recreate a certain atmosphere. One example is a film of a beach merged with other elements such as ocean sounds, breeze, and smell of sunscreen and so on. When the user will watch this video on the Oculus Rift, he/she will feel completely immersed in the virtual beach. Astronauts on the space mission can strap on an Oculus Rift VR headset and see the world change around them. While they are actually rushing through the universe, they will be enjoying the sensation of being somewhere else completely! It can be a beach, a jungle, some city or anything a person find relaxing. One of the best things about its result would be that it won’t only help astronauts but other people as well. The experiences can be used in various places such as schools, hospitals and prisons. It can be a great help to people with psychological orders like PTSD. We can safely say that in near future, it is very likely we will have a virtual therapist on call 24/7 with us wherever we are!
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