Virtual Reality: Technologies, Medical Applications and Challenges


Pietro Cipresso, PhD and Silvia Serino, PhD (Editors)
Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano – Milano, Italy

Series: Psychology Research Progress
BISAC: SCI010000

Suppose I am a blind man, and I use a stick. I go tap, tap, tap. Where do I start? Is my mental system bounded at the handle of the stick? Is it bounded by my skin? Does it start halfway up the stick? Does it start at the tip of the stick? (Bateson, 1972:459; Form, Substance and Difference)

One of the most amazing capacities of the human mind is its ability to go beyond its boundaries. The well-known example of the “blind man” by Gregory Bateson helps us understand how our mind is able to expand its potentiality thanks to the use of a tool. This famous example demonstrates two specific features that characterize the relationship between the human mind and the use of tool. From a neuropsychological point of view, the tool is integrated in near space, extending it to the end point of the instrument. From a phenomenological point of view, we are present in the tool because we can use it in an intuitive way to realize our intentions.

As Riva and Mantovani suggested, there is also another type of relationship between mind and technology, namely the second-order mediated action. In this case, the subject uses the body to control a distal tool that controls a different one to exert an action upon an external object. An example of a second-order mediated action is what happens with Virtual Reality (VR): I use my body to move an avatar (a distal tool) to exert an action upon an external object (a virtual environment). On one side, the outcome of this process further extends the space of action. From an experiential viewpoint, when interacting in a virtual space, we are also present in the distal virtual environment. On these theoretical bases, it is clear what makes VR development distinctively important is that it represents more than a simple technology in different domains of human society. In recent years, the field of VR has grown immensely. Practical applications for the use of this advanced technology encompasses many fields, from personnel training supported by interactive 3D images in industrial centers, to the use of interactive virtual environments for marketing purposes.

One of the newest fields to benefit from the advances in VR technology is medicine and healthcare. Impressive advances in technology, coupled with a reduction in the economic costs have supported the development of more usable, useful, and accessible VR systems that can uniquely target a range of physical, psychological, and cognitive clinical targets and research questions. The aim of the book Virtual Reality-Technologies, Medical Applications, and Challenges is twofold: (1) to provide a critical overview of the most interesting medical applications of VR technologies and (2) to reflect on the future challenges in this growing field. (Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Section I. Why VR? Theoretical and Innovative Perspectives on the Uses of VR in Medicine and Healthcare

Chapter 1 – Patient Centered Virtual Reality: An Opportunity to Improve the Quality of Patient‘s Experience (pp. 3-30)
Stefano Triberti and Elisa G. Liberati (Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy)

Chapter 2 – Virtual and Augmented Reality as Useful and Efficacious Tools for The Psychological Treatment of Emotional Disorders (pp. 31-54)
E. Etchemendy, R.M. Baños and C. Botella (CIBER Fisiopatología Obesidad y Nutrición (CB06/03), Instituto Carlos III; University of Valencia (Spain), CIBER Fisiopatología Obesidad y Nutrición (CB06/03), Instituto Carlos III, and University Jaume I (Spain), CIBER Fisiopatología Obesidad y Nutrición (CB06/03), Instituto Carlos III (Spain))

Chapter 3 – Virtual Reality: A New Approach to Validate Computer Modeling Auralizations by Using Articulation Indexes (pp. 55-72)
Roberto A. Tenenbaum, Viviane S. G. Melo and José F.L. Naranjo (Laboratory of Instrumentationon Dynamics, Acoustics and Vibrations, Computational Modelling Program, Polytechnic Institute of the State University of Rio de Janeiro, Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Chapter 4 – Virtual Environments in Visual Perception: Applications and Challenges (pp. 73-80)
Alessandro Soranzo and Christopher J. Wilson (Sheffield Hallam University, and Teesside University, United Kingdom)

Section II. VR-Based Training for Medical Needs

Chapter 5 – Development of Epidural Simulators: Towards Hybrid Virtual Reality Training (pp. 83-124)
Neil Vaughan, Venketesh N. Dubey, Michael Y. K. Wee and Richard Isaacs (Bournemouth University, UK and others)

Chapter 6 – Going into the Skin with Virtual Reality (pp. 125-134)
Marie-Danielle Vazquez-Duchêne, Christophe Mion, Solène Mine, Christine Jeanmaire, Olga Freis, Gilles Pauly and David Hérault (BASF Beauty Creations and others)

Chapter 7 – Virtual Reality in Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery (pp. 135-148)
Patorn Piromchai (Department of Otolaryngology, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, University of Melbourne, East Melbourne, Australia and others)

Chapter 8 – Virtual Application as a Teaching Tool for Anatomy Education (pp. 149-158)
Adam Von Samek, Marc Gibber, Bradley A. Schiff and Marvin P. Fried (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, and Departmenr of Otolaryngolgoy, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstien College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA)

Section III. Clinical Applications of VR

Chapter 9 – Virtual Reality and Schizophrenia (pp. 161-176)
Mar Rus-Calafell and José Gutiérrez-Maldonado (Department of Social Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom and others)

Chapter 10 – A Case for the Development and Use of Virtual Reality Measures for Assessment of Executive Function (pp. 177-194)
Thomas D. Parsons, Anne Carlew and Erin Sullivan (Department of Psychology, University of North Texas, Denton, US and others)

Chapter 11 – Adaptive Virtual Reality and Its Application in Autism Therapy (pp. 195-228)
Esubalew Bekele, Uttama Lahiri, Karla Welch, Zachary Warren and Nilanjan Sarkar (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, US and others)

Chapter 12 – An Innovative Positive Psychology VR Application for Victims of Sexual Violence: A Qualitative Study (pp. 229-268)
Giulia Corno and Stéphane Bouchard (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan, Italy and others)

Chapter 13 – Virtual Reality PTSD Treatment Program for Civil Victims of Criminal Violence (pp. 269-290)
Georgina Cárdenas-López, Anabel de la Rosa-Gómez, Ximena Durán-Baca and Stéphane Bouchard (School of Psychology, National Autonomous University of Mexico, and others)

Editors’ Contact Information


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