VR Technology to Aid Sound Sleep and Relaxation

So far there has been abundant literature on how technology may be compliant to our unuttered wants and needs but its exposure can disrupt normal life. It has been associated with high alertness and upsetting rest and relaxation. But now researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne are presenting an alternative side to this apparent present-day evil. They have designed a new technology that may aid sleep and permeate serenity and do so with self- induced creativity with the help of Virtual Reality (VR).

An iridescent and multilayered experience engulfs you in a singular experience, a state of relaxation, induced by colors and soothing sounds, connected to a VR. This is, however not a movie or some therapy, but a physical manifestation of your own brain, at its colorful and creative best. The RMIT research team recently investigated whether this kind of interactive virtual reality experience could help feel the calmness that brings uninterrupted and dreamless sleep.

The multisensory experience involves lying on a gently vibrating bed and wearing a VR headset, a practice evolved from neurofeedback principles. Neurofeedback uses physical reflection of brain activity to enable mental state regulation.

“It’s sort of to give people a way to monitor their own mind … and see how monitoring their mind affects the way that their mind works,” said PhD researcher Nathan Semertzidis from RMIT’s Exertion Games Lab.

The development of this technology, involved designating different colors and textures to changing brainwaves. This resulted in a kaleidoscopic and ethereal visual representation of the brain activity. The idea is that the system creates a feedback loop that encourages participants to recognize and modify their thoughts in a way that could potentially help them to relax.

12 participants were studied for the research. This gives an insight into the psychosis of pre sleep patterns that often govern our sleep. Participants reported a 21 per cent drop in general negative emotion, and a 55 per cent reduction in feelings of fear.