play4REAL Lab Embraces VR for Educating Youth and Young Adults on Important Life Decisions

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It is always good to see Vr technology being used for purposes other than entertainment. Play4REAL will be a new Yale lab focusing on developing and testing VR games for health education. This new initiative will get a lot of support from Oculus, as they will provide the necessary hardware to do so. It will be interesting to see how this new development will pan out.

play4REAL is a Major Initiative

Projects like these are commendable, to say the very least. Oculus and Yale’s Center for Health and Learning Games are focusing on the impact virtual reality will have on our society. More specifically, they want to develop and test VR games for health education and behavioral intervention in youth and young adults. This new play4REAL lab is a direct successor to the play2PREVENT lab, which uses a similar approach involving video games in general.

It is evident videogames and other types of content have a direct impact on the development of youth and young adults. Whether that is for better or worse, remains to be determined. A venture like this one should help solidify the viability of virtual reality or at least help iron out some of the glaring problems. With Oculus supporting this venture, play4REAL should see some big success in the future.

A VR version of a game designed to educate teens on tobacco product use will be one of the first “creations” of play4REAL. This VR version will also focus on electronic cigarettes. While they may seem healthier, there is still a lot of misinformation associated with e-cigarettes. A VR app to provide some educational material on this topic will certainly generate some buzz. VR for general education purposes is a venture more companies need to explore, that much is evident.

Oculus committed to the development of the smokeSCREEN VR application prototype. The pilot-testing of this application will be done through various VR headsets, including the Oculus Rift. Leveraging VR technology to create a more realistic simulation of peer pressure and situational decision making will certainly bring some innovative concepts to light in the future. Users get more of a point-of-view experience that makes them feel as if they are making the decisions. An interesting approach and we hope play4REAL will make a positive impact in this regard.

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