Among different digital health tools, virtual reality applications spread in the last years, supported by a fast improving technology that in five years passed from heavy VR headsets tethered to crazily expensive computers to wi-fi connected, easy to use and cheap stand alone headsets.

VR is basically a cognitive tool, able to provide users with an immersive multisensorial experience engaging and motivating body and mind at levels that cannot be achieved with traditional screen-based solutions. In the Era of the Brain Project, we finally recognize that the brain represents a unique door to access our body wellbeing, deeply impacting stress physiology, hormonal release, immune system, disease resistance and recovery time as well. In this context, VR applications can be the key to access our brain and better support our entire health.

AI algorithms can be run directly on a VR device, not relying on secondary desktop applications, in order to collect real time data about how digital cues impact patients conditions. The possibility to provide psychological and motor support to patients with VR and track their conditions with AI-enhanced data collection using the same product, relying only on the VR headset, will open new horizons in VR treatments.

Why we should embed artificial intelligence into virtual reality headsets

Objective metrics about patients’ wellbeing conditions are needed, in order to better connect VR content, its impact on therapy outcomes and the hospital dynamics, making therapy experience a value fully integrated within care plans. It is also clear that the complexity of patients needs cannot be efficiently targeted with a “one-fits-all solution”, with a VR content equal for all.

Trackability and adaptation are key milestones to be integrated in VR to unleash its full potential to support patients. 

To achieve this, AI algorithms will be designed to run directly on VR devices, not relying on secondary desktop applications, in order to collect real time data about how digital cues impact patients conditions. The possibility to provide psychological and motor support to patients with VR and track their conditions with AI-enhanced data collection using the same product, relying only on the VR headset, will open new horizons in VR treatments.

How artificial intelligence would change the experience of using a VR headset

Artificial intelligence represents an opportunity to highlight meaningful interactions between the user and the digital experience and it could be seen as a “software sensor” allowing the virtual environments to perceive patients health related profiles. AI would also offer the possibility to automate the personalisation of virtual scenarios, designing at first standard content able in a second moment to adapt to every user, optimizing the delivered support.

Picture credit to Softcare Studios.

Author Bio

artificial intelligence medicine healthcare headsets virtual reality softcare valentino hospital patient aiValentino Megale – CEO Softcare Studios

Digital health entrepreneur developing innovative solutions for wellbeing and healthcare.

Biologist, PhD in Neuropharmacology with academic research experience in pharmacology, antitumoral drug development, molecular diagnostics and biotech.

In 2014 I co-founded the Open BioMedical Initiative, a non profit organization dedicated to improve the social impact of 3D printing through online platforms, collaborative design and community building.

In 2017, I co-founded Softcare Studios, a digital health startup aimed to support patients therapy experience and optimize medical treatments using VR content and AI-based tracking. Our first product, TOMMI, is a VR experience designed to help pediatric patients better cope with medical treatments reducing their sedation rate, while providing doctors with data for smarter decisions during therapy.

Actively involved in educational, communication and consulting initiatives to support evidence-based applications of digital technologies to improve healthcare, social impact and corporate settings.