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Virtual Reality

Meditation Chambr

Our researchers develop innovative technologies combining immersive virtual reality with biotechnologies and meditation. We teach users how to control their mind/body states, so they can use this ability any time, anywhere. Software that reinforces and tracks this learning is under development for mobile technology. Studies on over 500 users demonstrate that virtual reality is more effective than opiates.

VR as Therapy and Training:

Immersive VR has proven to be effective for treating acute pain (Hoffman & Patterson, 2005; Hoffman, et al 2004a, 2004b). We extend this research into the long term arena of chronic pain by investigating what makes VR an effective, non-pharmacological analgesic and by training patients to modulate their perceived pain (Kabat-Zinn, 2006) by developing integrated VR and biofeedback technology (Shaw, et al., 2007). Next, we will examine to what degree users can learn to lower their pain thresholds in VR (by DNIC measures, Loeser, 2001), how much of that ability can persist over time, and if it can be reinforced through desktop and mobile technologies.

Hoffman, H.G., Richards, T., Coda, B. (2004a). et al. Modulation of Thermal Pain-related Brain Activity with Virtual Reality: Evidence from fMRI. Neuroreport, vol. 15, no. 8, Jun 2004, 1245-1248.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2006). Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness, New York: Hyperion.

Loeser, J., Butler, S., Chapman, C., et al. (2001). Evaluation and Function in Disability. Bonica’s Management of Pain, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 351.

Shaw, C.S., Gromala, D., Seay, A.F., et al. (2007). The Meditation Chamber: Enacting Autonomic Senses. Proceedings of ENACTIVE/07, 4th International Conference on Enactive Interfaces, Grenoble, France, 19-22 Nov., 405-408.


Mobius Floe

Mobius Floe incorporates a unique virtual environment with biofeedback and meditation. The participant wears a head-mounted display and is immersed in a virtual wintery landscape. Physiological data (in the form of GSR readings) are recorded from the participant and fed into the system, affecting various visual and sonic aspects of the virtual landscape. That is, as the …

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images from the virtual meditation chamber

Virtual Meditation Chamber

The Meditation Chamber was an immersive virtual environment that was originally created by long-time VR researchers Larry Hodges, Diane Gromala, Chris Shaw, and Fleming Seay. In the Meditation Chamber, users sat in a comfortable, semi-reclining chair and experienced a VE that took them through three phases of a virtual experience. Prior to the first phase, …

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Virtual Meditative Walk

Virtual Meditative Walk

The Virtual Meditative Walk incorporates a unique virtual environment with biofeedback and meditation in the form of a walking meditation. A walking meditation was chosen because we wanted to directly address the decreases in mobility that are known to accompany chronic pain, while simultaneously using a virtual environment to augment meditative training and encourage the …

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Sonic Cradle

The sonic cradle, created by Jay Vidyarthi, Bernhard Riecke and Diane Gromala, is designed to explore how media might engage the human mind into a process of “immer­sion” with­out com­plex visual dis­plays or nar­ra­tive story-worlds.  Says Vidyarthi, “We have devel­oped a frame­work which depicts immer­sion as the psy­cho­log­i­cal process of inte­grat­ing crude sen­sa­tions into the expe­ri­ence …

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