Performing research work in immersive technology brings its own challenges. Whether it’s designing the intervention and integrating that into clinical flow or the simple challenges of removing and minimising bias. After all “VR Brings Joy” @BrennanSpiegel, which makes it easy to recruit volunteers but hard to element placebo/ novelty effect. One of the intriguing things is whether it is the immersive nature of VR that triggers the physiological response or whether there is no difference in 2D presentation of that content in an environment where there is the expectation of experience VR. With the fab support of Digital Jersey.

And the great space provided by Jersey Telecom we ran a small observation study to help iron out any unknown difficulties in our larger studies going forward, but also just to see if the VR content were planning to use was VR delivery dependent.

An early start but beautiful as ever in Jersey, and like any good tech nerd start with the whiteboard - the only truly failsafe!

The space is perfect for conducting studies of this type, great networks space, adaptability and the usual mundane but required kitchen and toilet facilities, and, let’s not forget parking! 10 victims volunteers kindly agreed to give up their day to troop through content designed to relax and designed to stress across VR and 2D delivery whilst being wired up and banned from caffeine and nicotine. Perhaps choosing Saturday was a little cruel - being a nauseatingly proud dad of 3 under 3 my Friday nights are more Netflix and ice cream. Fortunately, 9 of the 10 are also dads, which perhaps explains our one outlier in the data - nothing like a hangover without coffee. Still, some time spent in Healthy Mind helped, whilst virtual coaster perhaps did not.

Whilst there wasn't enough data to truly demonstrate a statistical difference there were evidently some trends, and self-reported questionnaires overwhelmingly favoured VR to induce greater relaxation and the roller-coaster greater stress compared to the same experience watching on a screen.

results1 results2

Perhaps the most valuable insight was the process of doing physiological studies involving VR, and the nuts and bolts of simply running such a trial, which has resulted in better processes for the more involved clinical research.

Thanks again to the volunteers, without contributions from the public and patients any clinical research is doomed to failure.

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