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Beyond gaming: virtual reality in healthcare

27 Mar, 14 | by BMJ

Following the high profile purchase of WhatsappFacebook has made yet another acquisition. The company behind the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which found success on Kickstarter (and has since been the darling of the indie tech scene) was bought for $2bn this week.

Although gaming is a cornerstone of Facebook’s business, Mark Zuckerburg’s statement shows that he has further reaching ambitions for virtual reality (VR):

“Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.…This is really a new communication platform.”

In fact, healthcare is already a big adopter of virtual reality, with applications already in surgery simulation, phobia treatment, robotic surgery and skills training. 

Soldiers trying out Virtual Iraq


Helen Morant: Education meets technology in Texas

11 Mar, 14 | by BMJ

Educators and educational technology entrepreneurs have been mixing at SXSWedu. Our online learning platform, BMJ Learning, is thinking hard about its next phase, so Dr Helen Morant went along to the educational innovation conference in Texas to see if we could learn anything.

  • Now we can measure everything, we can start measuring the right things

The most exciting thing about online learning is how we can measure things that we couldn’t dream of before. Everyone knows that time is a terrible measure of value in education, but for a long time it is all we had. Now education and assessment are moving online, we have piles of data that is useful for students and their teachers, appraisers and assessors. What learners do online, and how they do it can all be recorded and fed back to create hyper personalised learning experiences. But perhaps the most exciting thing is that education is moving out of being a woolly social science discipline into something evidence based and important. And we’ve barely scratched the surface of the data. more…

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