May 17, 2020

Study shows VR is twice as effective as morphine at treating pain

Callum Rivett
2 min
Virtual reality could soon be making an impact in healthcare, as a study by the Human Interface Technology Lab's SnowWorld has shown that VR can divert...

Virtual reality could soon be making an impact in healthcare, as a study by the Human Interface Technology Lab's SnowWorld has shown that VR can divert a patient's attention away from their pain and into the computerised world.

Opioid usage is fast becoming an epidemic in the United States, with prescriptions trebling in the past three decades. In 2015, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that over 16,000 people died from a prescription drug overdose. The proposed alternative is therapy by virtual reality. 

The experimental therapy has been devised by psychologist Hunter Hoffman, who trialled his idea on army veterans and burn victims and discovered that patients reported a 50% reduction in pain whilst they were playing his VR game - a simple distraction involving throwing snowballs at penguins.

That success has led HITLab to create Firsthand Technology, a company dedicated to creating new technologies to help ease chronic pain and suffering. 

Virtual and augmented reality has actually been used as far back as the 1960s when US Air Force veteran turned inventor Tom Furness tried to treat phobias and teach foreign language using the technology. Furness founded the HIT Lab in 1989 and earned the lifetime achievement award for his work in VR and AR.

A second version of the virtual reality game is already in testing and early signs suggest it's going well - all but one of 40 people in a clinical trial reported reduced pain. Most reported a drop in pain levels of 60-75%, whereas morphine only averages around a 30% reduction. 

The hypothesis has caught on and is being tested by similar laboratories in North America, and all have reported an improvement in patients following VR simulations.

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Jun 15, 2021

Searching for the Top 100 Leaders in Technology

2 min
Have your say and nominate technology industry influencers and legends in our search for the Top 100 Leaders announced at upcoming LIVE event

The search is on for the Top 100 Leaders in Technology 2021 – nominated by readers of Technology magazine and open to all.

The initiative has been launched and nominations are now open, with the final, prestigious Top 100 due to be announced during Technology and AI LIVE running 14-16 September, beamed from London to the world.

This latest, definitive list of the leading executives and influencers in the industry will be announced at the event and shared across social media channels, this website, and presented in a special supplement that honours all of those named in our annual list.

The Top 100 Leaders follows on from the well-received Top 100 Women in Technology that BizClik Media Group (BMG) – publishers of Technology magazine, AI magazine and a growing portfolio of industry-leading titles – produced in March this year to coincide with International Women’s Day. 

“The Top 100 Women recognised the incredible and influential women driving our industry,” says Scott Birch, editorial director, BMG. “The success of that initiative encouraged us to recognise the Top 100 Leaders – individuals championing everything that we love about technology and embracing best practice that’s good for business.”

Nominations are already coming in, with some notable highlights including:

Rhonda Vetere - Herbalife

Bryan Smith - Expedient

Nominate your Top 100 Leader HERE

The deadline for nominations closes on Sunday 1 August 2021, and it is free to nominate. The Top 100 Leaders will be announced across our platforms and at the LIVE event.


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