Revelator Creates VR Pain Management Project

Revelator recently teamed up with the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas, to produce a non-medication form of pain management. Virtual reality can provide an alternate route to pain relief by creating soothing and immersive experiences for patients. That’s why Dr. Mark Powers and the University of Texas have implemented a study to research the effects of alternative forms of pain management.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and prescription pain reliever addiction is driving this epidemic. There are enough opioid prescriptions written each year to provide every single American adult with one bottle of pills, and 78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Pain is the most universal medical complaint in the U.S. About 25% of adults report a day-long episode of pain over the previous month, and 10% report a pain that lasted a year or more. Basically, pain costs the U.S. economy 61.2 billion per year.

Virtual Reality is one effective non-pharmacological method that reduces acute and chronic pain. A systematic review of 11 randomized controlled trials (i.e., gold standard for evaluating intervention efficacy) showed that VR reduced pain more than credible control interventions. This is where Revelator and 360 video come into the picture. Animated and CGI VR experiences have presented problems in treatment programs. The unrealistic elements of the simulation can take away from the experience and become unsettling as CGI becomes more lifelike.

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We worked with Dr. Powers to film calming settings in 360 video. Powers hypothesizes that live action VR will eliminate many of the problems found in animated VR, creating a more immersive and effective treatment for patients. We shot on the Nokia Ozo VR camera at various Austin locations, like Lake Travis, Zilker Botanical Gardens, and Hamilton Pool. The Ozo shoots with a 195° field of vision to create 4K stereoscopic images. The camera is also equipped with 8 recording microphones which can map audio to headset orientation, creating a fully immersive audio experience.

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The University of Texas Department of Psychology has been on the cutting edge of new technologies since it’s creation in 1927. The department fosters students in its undergraduate and graduate programs to pursue research outside of the classroom. The university faculty are world-class professionals at the top of their fields, who continue to push their respective studies forward with experiments and programs like this one. We always love working with the University of Texas, as many of our team members are graduates of the institution. The University has become increasingly involved in VR production, and we are eager to continue working with them in this field. We were honored to be involved with this project, and as VR film production grows in scope, we’ll strive to find new uses for the technology.