Virtual reality is a computer-generated experience that immerses you in a completely different world using a virtual reality headset. These headsets, such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or PlayStation VR, are significantly more advanced than previous attempts to create virtual reality systems for the public and are now bringing VR gaming to the masses. The virtual world can also be enhanced with sound and haptic touch technology, and VR has also been applied to movies, health, sport and science.
Surgeons and their patients are finding that virtual reality can relieve the pain and stress of operations – and it’s safer and cheaper than sedatives. Jo Marchant travels to a Mexican mountaintop village to visit a clinic with a difference.
Can virtual reality really soothe pain? Jo Marchant meets the doctors who say yes, and who hope this is a solution to the country consuming 80 per cent of the world’s opioid supply: the United States of America.