Over the Christmas holiday, Mike let me borrow his Oculus Quest. It’s a wireless, VR headset/computer with wireless hand controllers. Wow! This is some amazing tech. After a few days of me experimenting and my daughters loving the games, I decided to purchase my own device. At $699 for the 128 GB unit, it’s not cheap, but in terms of quality, mobility, ease of use and a platform for 3rd parties to develop add-ons, like haptic touch, this device is a great value.
Prior to trying the Quest, I did all my VR therapy (videos of Jim and 3D content), using my iPhone and a headset. I experimented a little with Peter’s Oculus Rift, and while the visual quality is as good or better than the Quest, it’s a lot more involved requiring a powerful gaming computer, wired sensors that have to be configured, and a headset that is also wired into the computer. Unlike the Quest that I can easily bring anywhere, the Rift needs to be in a dedicated place.
What I really like about it:
- High quality immersive experience. Once again doing the Oculus tutorial I almost fell out of my chair when I went to lean on the virtual desk
- No wires is pretty amazing
- Lots of content and the Oculus Store works well
- Streaming from the headset to our TV allows everyone in the room to see what the person playing VR is doing is cool, so it doesn’t have to be an isolated activity
- Having the controllers to select content, and not having to take the headset off is great
- The interface and most content allow the user to be stationary and/or seated. As a wheelchair user this is very important.
I had quite a few terrible pain days during the holiday. I blame the weather and the stress of knowing we had an upcoming trip to prepare and pack for. The only good thing about having a bad pain day is that I can test the effectiveness of the VR. After my first week of searching for and trying out different types of content, I’m grouping the content into 3 categories as they relate to helping with the pain – Distraction / Meditative / Therapy.
My Quest Experience
Below you’ll find a screen shot with some colour coding of what I’ve found so far.
RED: Distraction through action. I especially like the Pistol Whip and Star Wars Vadar games. While playing I don’t have brain cycles to register the nerve pain.
PURPLE: Distraction through VR. National GEO and Wander take you to a different place and I think this could be very powerful for others unable to get out of their homes. It’s a good distraction.
YELLOW: Distraction through a story. Prime Video VR has some VR content which is cool. Netflix content is 2D, but the headset is immersive and feels like the theatre experience. Not very social, but very cool and you can lose yourself in the movie. I suspect more and more movies in 3D will start coming available. This will be powerful too.
BLUE: Meditative and calming. Takes the edge off the pain. I especially like Ocean Rift with the headphones on. Even though it’s CGI, it looks and feels quite real and you can lose yourself under the surface of the water. I like the sea turtles the best – they’re cool dudes (reminds me of our time in Hawaii and the movie Finding Nemo)
- TRIPP is a little hokey, but an interesting approach to combining meditation and therapy with VR Nature Treks is nice.
GREEN: Therapy, Distraction, Meditative (depends on the content and what interests you) YouTube VR – Here I linked my account so I can see all of our videos and explore other content that is powerful.
- Having all of my previously watched videos in my YouTube history easily accessible through the Oculus interface, is ideal. I can fast forward, rewind, start a new video, etc. without removing the headset and phone from the headset.
- Funny enough, the image (Jim’s lower body) appears much closer than when I use the camera/headset. Almost too close. I need to find out if there’s a way to control this
- Other content can be found that is really enjoyable and distracting and/or meditative. I’ve included a screen shot of my history from the first few days.
YouTubeVR (and normal) content
In addition to all of the www.neuroplasticityVR.org videos, I enjoyed checking these out.
If you’re considering trying the VR type therapy or are just interested in the latest tech, I highly recommend finding an Oculus Quest to experience the power of Virtual Reality. If you have suggestions on other content I should try, please let me know. If you have any questions about my experience, please feel free to ask. The journey continues…