Virtual reality pioneers are quickly destroying the stereotype that the technology is strictly used by basement-dwelling gaming geeks who don’t want to venture into the real world. Virtual reality is one of the hottest trends across the world for good reason. Sure, it provides stimulating virtual environments as a form of escapism. Yet it is also helping to solve real world problems like obesity, phobias, PTSD and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, commonly referred to as ADHD.
Virtual Reality for ADHD Diagnosis
This year’s Disrupt NY Hackathon started with a bang. The first team to take the stage unveiled ‘reVIVE,’ a virtual reality system that diagnoses ADHD. The most shocking part of the presentation is that it was made by three high school juniors. The youngsters joined forces to build a VR solution that combats the costly and time-consuming process necessary to diagnose the illness. It typically takes upwards of six to nine months for ADHD to be diagnosed. This process chews up more than the patient’s time. In many instances, it ends up costing them thousands of dollars and a great deal of angst from the lengthy treatment. Thankfully, reVIVE will soon come to the rescue.
The reVIVE technology is comprised of three distinct tests that measure the user’s ability to sustain concentration, react in a timely manner and exhibit motor skills. The measurement of these abilities is performed by gauging user performance on tasks such as standing completely still within a specific area, touching colored objects as they are illuminated with distinct colors and navigating a maze. The team of high school juniors behind reVIVE developed a scoring system to gauge user performance. This scoring system will also empower medical professionals to obtain a better understanding of patients’ characteristics and abilities in a timely manner.
The Youngsters Behind reVIVE
As noted above, reVIVE is the brainchild of three high school students from new Jersey. They are Amulya Balakrishnan, Askhaya Dinesh and Sowmya Patapati. Their respective ages are 17, 17 and 16. The trio befriended one another at a previous Hackathon. They also work with the #BUILTBYGIRLS organization that strives to expose girls to various forms of technology at a young age and inspire them to be technological trailblazers. These high school brainiacs designed this game-changing virtual reality app with the help of Unity VR. reVIVE functions on the HTC Vive, one of the industry’s most popular virtual reality helmets. Dinesh states, “We really wanted to quantify ADHD diagnoses. When you’re immersed in a 360 environment, patients experience the environment as if they’re really there.”
reVIVE Won’t Displace Therapists
A therapist’s place in treatment will not be at all threatened by reVIVE. This virtual reality solution was not created to put therapists out of work. In fact, it will make therapists’ jobs easier. reVIVE will likely serve as an important telemedicine tool. It will alert a patient’s therapist to his most recent performance within the app. IBM Watson can analyze this performance data across posterity to identify trends and other important information.
Virtual Reality’s Role in Diagnosing Illnesses
Virtual reality has a seemingly endless number of real-world applications. It is becoming increasingly clear that this technology is not strictly used by gaming enthusiasts who are looking to have a blast in virtual realms. Virtual reality is rapidly evolving into an effective tool for medical diagnosing and treatment. Aside from reVIVE, businesses like MindMaze have developed highly effective VR solutions for medical professionals. VR is also used by surgeons and medical students to practice surgeries. The sky is the limit for this revolutionary technology.