Using virtual reality technology for social good is always worth looking into. A new research project by the University of Birmingham shows VR can be a vital tool to detect child abuse. For General Practitioners, this option is well worth looking into, especially if the technology can effectively help in this regard.
Can VR Spot Child Abuse?
On paper, it sounds impossible to detect child abuse with virtual reality technology. It is not a solution to address this problem, although VR can lend itself to General Practitioner training to help spot child abuse at an early stage. Those are the findings of researchers of the University of Birmingham, Goldsmiths, and University College London. Detecting the telltale signs of child abuse is still very difficult, even in this day and age.
According to the researchers, virtual reality technology has an important role to play in helping GPs to develop a new range of intuitive and perceptual skills essential to their craft. Some of the skills necessary to detect child abuse are very difficult to impart upon GPs without first-hand experience. Rather than scrutinizing potential victims whenever possible, the use of virtual reality can offer a more hands-on approach.
Within the virtual reality environment, GPs have been able to pick up signs of a child potentially suffering from abuse at home. GP Participants managed to interact with avatar patients in the same manner as they would with real patients. By properly analyzing the complex medical condition presented by the VR avatar, the GP was then able to determine the patient was indeed a victim of home abuse.
This test was conducted among 64 different GPs with different levels of expertise. Although this is still a small-scale trial first and foremost, it does confirm there is potential for virtual reality technology in this regard. If this experiment is taken to the next level, it may further highlight the potential of VR in the healthcare industry. There are still many different options to explore in this regard, although VR will not solve every problem consumers face today.
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