How Virtual Reality is more useful than just a new way to watch Porn: Combining Virtual Workplaces with Virtual Reality


Now that I’ve grabbed your attention, take five minutes of your time to read this post.  What do we know about virtual reality? Virtual reality can be understood as a three-dimensional world generated with the aid of computers. It allows users to participate and interact on a virtual and simulated setting using tools such as head-mounted display (HMD) and a DataGlobe. The HDM can be described as a helmet which allows the user to hear the sounds and see the images that are being simulated and the DataGlobe allows the user to interact in this virtual world with his/her hands.

But where are virtual workspaces affected when using only conventional means such as video-conferencing or telepresence?  For instance, under a training scenario at a hospital; there is a master operator (the chief surgeon) and performer (subordinate surgeon). The master operator is in the central hospital, while the performer is at a remote hospital. The master operator goes first (teaches a certain surgical method), and the performer tries to replicate the operator, while the two communicate via real time video-conference.

Now after understanding the concept, we see there are two extreme design schemes, i.e.: the method by which the video-telephony or video conferencing method can be performed:

  • The performer is another surgeon; In this case the master surgeon’s actions can be seen as instructions from a remote location. The feedback concerns the interpretation of the remote surgeon’s vocal remarks and some images of the operated patient. Here the technologies used by the master instructor are simple: microphone, camera, keyboard, graphics, etc.
  • The performer is a kind of surgical robot without any autonomy, he must follow what the master surgeon is performing. The master’s actions are occurring at the very low level. This means that the surgeon must guide the subordinate since the surgical act is made by the adequate tool but through subordinate guidance. The feedback must occur at a very low level as well. Indeed, the surgeon must feel on the same wave-length of the subordinate .

The important point to notice is that the control and the feedback depends on the autonomy capacities of the remote performer. It is also to be noticed that in any case, the performing surgeon’s behavior is unknown to the master surgeon, thus he cannot really predict what the surgeon will do (even when the master is giving instructions).

Now, if we imagine the same scenario again, but this time the performer has now used the VR device to understand what surgical action to carry-out with the help by carrying out the scenario in the pre-programmed situation. While creating a reality-like setting of being in the theatre room, the master surgeon can assign a scoring based system for every correct method that the performer has performed. The surgical process which was autonomous before has now become interactive, and in the supposed ‘surgeon game,’ it is possible to create a training situation along with an assessment situation. To continue, the VR device has now solved several of difficulties and costs with teleworking method. The VR device will reduce the difficulties in repeating the same process for many individuals, the same program can be run simultaneously for many different surgeons, regardless of whether time, place, or connectivity. The learning process has also now presumably become ‘fun’ as the gamification of the process can lead to higher levels of interest.

Now, don’t you think it’s the part of the real VR future?

Sources:

Kheddar, A. Tzafestas, C. Blazevic, P. Coiffet, Ph, 1998, ‘Fitting teleoperation and virtual reality technologies towards teleworking.’ Laboratoire de Robotique de Paris. Available on: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download;jsessionid=9E6FA81C6715C3DD13B54A48E9D92AA6?doi=10.1.1.45.2873&rep=rep1&type=pdf

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