Aparently, and really not that surprisingly, virtual reality can be used to help prevent pain. Similar to meditation, virtual landscapes can reduce the ammount of pain that the brain registers from 50 to 97 percent. Researcher Hunter Hoffman and colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle believe that virtual reality can serve as an anesthetic. In additon, they have shown that virtual reality "dramatically changes how the brain physically registers pain, not just how people subjected to pain perceive incoming signals".
Maybe cyborgs like Steve Mann can use head mounted displays next time they get a root canal. I know from my friend, dragoon that dentists are already starting to use head mounted displays in their practice to alleviate boredom and small talk.
[Link via betterhumans]Posted by nym at June 25, 2004 12:08 PM | TrackBack