Virtual reality is changing both dental experiences and long air travel for the better.
Thanks to the magic of VR tech, a trip to the dentist or taking a long flight may no longer be something to dread. Virtual reality (VR) headsets have been found to improve both experiences, helping people in these situations to feel more at ease.
VR has a “profound” sedation effect on dental patients.
According to dentist Bryan Laskin, providing dental patients with a Pico interactive VR headset while they’re getting work done, has a sedative effect on people. The effect is reportedly strong enough that in his dental practice virtual reality is used more than nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas.
Laskin is also the founder of Operability, the startup behind the OperaVR headset he uses in his office. He says that the VR tech is commonly used by anxious patients as well as those who want to avoid the social awkwardness of having another person a few inches from their face as they’re getting their teeth cleaned, etc.
“Once we have a headset on the patient, and they’re relaxed, it’s a better experience for everybody,” Laskin said, reported CNN.
Laskin’s office is only one of 100 other dental offices already using the technology. That said, the headsets don’t come cheap, with each system carrying a $1,000 price tag.
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VR tech can also reduce the anxiety and boredom that occurs during long flights.
Some airlines have started offering their first-class and business-class passengers VR headsets to pass the time and make their overall flying experience more calm and enjoyable. The headset that is loaned to these higher-paying passengers is one developed by startup SkyLights.
Via the VR headset, passengers can watch 2D or 3D movies as well as VR content that includes 360 degree videos. Kid-friendly programs are also available. According to the CEO of SkyLights, former Air France pilot David Dicko, the company designed the headset to be light and comfortable enough that it could be worn for a few hours at a time.
A few smaller airlines are already using the VR tech on flights. That said, just like the OperaVR headset, the SkyLight headset isn’t cheap. According to Dicko, it can cost an airline anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000 per headset per year. Depending on the size of the aircraft, to obtain headsets for all seats in business and first class, some airlines are looking at having to purchase anywhere from 30 to 60 headsets or even 80 or 90 for some of the bigger planes.
Although VR tech is expensive and it’s not suitable for everyone, it clearly has potential to offer some unique mind-distraction benefits in certain high-stress situations, benefits that are likely to improve as the technology does.