A virtual reality device used in the clinical study is demonstrated at the Ashiya Municipal Hospital in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture. The image shown on the personal computer screen is also displayed inside the goggle.

(Akiyoshi Abe) ASHIYA, Hyogo Prefecture–Cancer patients in a palliative care unit at a hospital here are ticking off their “bucket list” destinations or attending events that are otherwise impossible to reach by using a virtual reality headset. The experience, a limited provision at the Ashiya Municipal Hospital as part of a health-care research project, has largely been seen as a positive experience by recipients.

Hospital officials are hoping the practice will help improve the patients’ quality of life in their final days. A 40-year-old woman staying in the hospital was given an opportunity to watch a VR video recording of a concert that had been held late last year.

The sound from the device’s headphone was in perfect sync with the movements of the performers, each playing a flute, a piano and percussion. “The sense of reality goes to a different level when sound is added,” the woman said.

“That allows me, even as I am staying in this hospital, to take pleasure in thinking about what I will be doing next.” A VR system allows a user to feel as if he or she were really attending a scene, as its 3-D imagery rotates in accordance with the orientation of the user’s head. The study involves fixing a goggle-type image display on the head of a patient, who is asked to use a remote control to choose, for example, where they want to go. Read more from asahi.com…

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