A new perspective on VR and its uses

By Katie Chan Sze-ki, Pope Paul VI College
By Katie Chan Sze-ki, Pope Paul VI College |

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Children explore innovations and technologies using virtual reality (VR) headsets during the media preview of the Inno Tech Expo 2018 from September 23 to October 2, 2018 held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. 22SEP18 SCMP / F

I am writing in response to the article, “How a new therapy uses VR to help those with depression, trauma, PTSD, and other mental health issues” (Young Post, September 21).

According to the article, virtual reality (VR) can be used to create a comfortable, relaxed environment for depressed and mentally ill patients. This puts them in a frame of mind where they can start to get better. I never imagined that VR could be used as a therapeutic tool. I always thought it was a dynamic gaming and entertainment platform. Reading this article has really changed my perspective.

One thing that really stood out to me is how VR can be used as an alternative to depression medications. Also, the article mentions that, because VR headsets are becoming more common in households, this form of therapy will be able to reach a lot of people.

I hope it becomes a reality and starts helping people with depression, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and other mental health issues as soon as possible.

Katie Chan Sze-ki, Pope Paul VI College

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From the editor

Thank you for your letter, Katie. Isn’t it marvellous how far technology has come to help humans heal? A couple of years ago, students at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, came up with a VR game to help cancer patients cope with pain. Now, companies are taking it forward, helping other patients take fewer pain relief tablets.

VR is also helping hospital patients. The app VisitU allows patients to contact their loved ones whenever they want to. It takes a normal video chat into a new realm by allowing patients to look around them 360 degrees.

What’s more, VR, AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality) are now used more and more to teach medical students and even train surgeons. Hopefully in the future we will see more Hong Kong students honing their heart transplant skills at lunch time instead of playing silly old League of Legends.

Susan, Editor