VR mental health platform XRHealth blasts off with NASA

Virtual reality-based mental health company XRHealth revealed plans to send a VR headset to space for mental health treatment during an upcoming space mission launching on November 7.

In collaboration with Nord-Space Aps and HTC Vive, XRHealth engineered the Vive Focus 3 headset to withstand the conditions of space by using a simulator mode and specialized tracking methodology through the controllers to ensure effective operation in a microgravity environment.

To tackle the behavioral health challenges astronauts often face, Nord-Space Aps introduced a unique initiative called “virtual assistance mental balance” to cater to astronauts’ specific mental health needs while in orbit.

Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen will become the first spacefarer to utilize the VR headset for preventive mental health care during his six- to eight-month NASA Crew-7 mission.

“This is the first time a VR headset for mental health therapy is going to space with the goal of working with astronauts that have long and isolating jobs, for months at a time,” Eran Orr, CEO of XRHealth, told MobiHealthNews in an email. “VR therapy will be a crucial component to mental health, wherever a person is located simply because it is engaging and accessible absolutely anywhere – now including space.”

THE LARGER TREND

Virtual and augmented reality technologies have emerged as powerful tools with the potential to revolutionize healthcare, offering innovative, immersive solutions for various psychological and emotional challenges.

In June, XRHealth announced it was awarded a U.S. patent for its learning-system technology that adjusts training and treatment protocols according to a patient’s biometric and motion data. The company said it would first use its technology in combination with the Apple Watch and with Apple’s augmented reality headset announced in June, dubbed the Apple Vision Pro. 

Last month, XRHealth distributed hundreds of virtual reality headsets in 30 hospitals, assisted living and mental health centers, and nursing homes across Israel to assist patients suffering from stress, PTSD and anxiety.

Last week, Japanese medical VR provider Jolly Good announced that it is developing a virtual reality-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program for the spatial computer Apple Vision Pro, with similar VR-based digital therapy to be developed for other psychiatric disorders in the future.

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