Virtual reality can make a person observe a different place with their eyes, but tricking your body into feeling the experience is a whole other ballgame. Interestingly enough, if a South Korean hospital’s claims are correct, in the future people may be able to feel different types of cold or warm feelings in VR thanks to breakthroughs in technology.
According to ETNews, the new research program is being worked on by the Catholic University of Korea Incheon, St. Mary’s Hospital, in combination with the Korea Institute of Science and Technology. They claim to have created a map of the brain where feelings of cold or warmth can be simulated in a VR environment. The hospital claims that VR headsets could be developed with this technology that will use non-invasive methods to stimulate the brain into feeling these changes.
The research team thinks this kind of technology could be used for many different applications. Consumers could, in theory, put on a virtual piece of clothing they wish to buy and “feel” how it feels on the body before they buy the real thing. Doctors could use the technology to help treat brain ailments, and it could also be applied to sports for learning more how to swing a golf club or a baseball bat.
The report says the hospital research team plans to finish developing this technology sometime in 2019. We are personally skeptical that this research will be able to offer realistic feelings in a VR environment, but it looks like we will have to wait a long time before it is ready for prime time anyway.