The Many Faces of Virtual Reality

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Many Faces of Virtual Reality

In this segment, the many faces of virtual reality concern method of treatment, invention protection, vision and invention, virtual reality technology, U.S.C.§1498 statute regarding unlawful use and Fifth Amendment ‘takings,’ character, culture and virtual reality, and U.S. entrepreneurship and virtual reality.

New virtual reality technology (VR) is announced weekly. Writers describe a broad spectrum of devices. Head displays for video and cinema are recent entries. The test of whether new technology meets established criteria for virtual reality will be considered. Immersion and head-displays reduce time in treatment and healthcare costs as determined by funded research. Applications suitable for mental health include phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and other anxiety disorders. Virtual environments embed the whole person within computer generated surroundings. Engaging attention leads to interactions that accelerate focused learning in novel worlds without boundaries. This is possible when the user develops heightened awareness. A diagnosis defines a problem. User interaction with the virtual environment is encouraged for the purpose of learning corrective experiences. Virtual Reality Immersion Therapy (VRIT) is a system of psychotherapy and not simply a tool as some researchers unfamiliar with clinical practices suggest.
The California Board of Psychology emphasizes: “The practice of psychology is defined as rendering or offering any psychological services involving psychological principles, methods, and procedures of understanding, predicting, and influencing behavior, such as the principles pertaining to learning, perception, motivation, emotions, and interpersonal relationships; and the methods and procedures of interviewing, counseling, psychotherapy, behavior modification, and hypnosis; and of constructing, administering, and interpreting tests of mental abilities, aptitudes, interests, attitudes, personality characteristics, emotions and motivations.

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Method of Treatment

Virtual Reality Immersion Therapy is a method of treatment based upon psychological principles with distinct procedures for influencing thinking, emotions, and behavior. Patients undergo a thorough assessment leading to diagnosis. Beginning with first encounter on-going evaluation continues throughout treatment. Referrals for co-occurring medical conditions and emergencies are made as appropriate. Alternative and preventive therapeutic interventions are discussed given patient presenting complaints.

VRIT brings patient, provider and environment together to enhance interpersonal communication. Interactions reveal personal beliefs and self-talk. For example, an acrophobic exposed to heights will draw upon memory which may contain self-limiting beliefs such as ‘I can’t do it. It’s too dangerous to cross the bridge. I’m afraid of dying.’ These contribute to a mental process reinforcing limitations rather than encouraging expansion. The process is continuous from onset of a particular belief to the present. Beliefs are closely held within. A person may or may not be aware of their beliefs. The rehearsal of failure beliefs in memory becomes part of on-going character development. VRIT seeks to influence specific patient complaints and in doing so alter thinking, emotion, and behavior that impair effective functioning. There are no healthcare products or innovations as well researched that show the remarkable lasting efficacy as Virtual Reality Immersion Therapy. The beauty of discovery is witnessing something that becomes an invention. From nothing the discovery comes into existence. Legal people call it ‘reduction to practice.’ Just as the life of a newborn is dependent upon the parent to protect it so it is with the birth of an invention. The inventor will pursue all means to protect it. What challenges do inventors face attempting to protect by enforcement their inventions?

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Indra, Toyra,

Invention Protection

Be strong, I say. The current climate for patent enforcement is dismal. Inventor and developer entrepreneurs are uncelebrated for creating ways to better society. Capable, competent and gifted people are denounced as trolls. Who are trolls? Entrepreneurs have been labeled troll when seeking to enforce their patents to advance business when patent claims are infringed. They may be viewed as a Non Practicing Entity (NPE) when attempts to launch a business are stalled because of delayed investment funding. Universities occupy another category of troll. Institutions of Higher Education have publicly declared intent to enforce patents. But the ‘university’ did not invent anything. The inventor is a person. The university is not a start-up business. It is not leveraging intellectual property that it developed because people and not universities, invent. No, the university wants to benefit from the efforts and talents of creative employees who were required to sign agreements that assign their invention to the university as condition of employment.

Others claim patented inventions stall innovation. Hunted like wild animals the creative are pushed aside by entities which appropriate by infringement intellectual property without paying just compensation. The U.S. is experiencing a thirty year decline in entrepreneurship said Brookings economist and attorney, Robert Litan. Agreements as a condition of employment whereby employees are required to assign their inventions reduce motivation. The employer may initiate litigation based upon infringement of patent claims. To justify costly litigation the invention must be highly valued. Only a few percent of inventions will satisfy this standard. Reduction in ability to enforce patents discourages innovation and business. Patent infringement, federal unlawful use statutes, and Fifth Amendment ‘taking’ are supposed to re-mediate theft of intellectual property. But documented abuse of power continues while media remains unresponsive to appeals for publication of patent theft facts. Despite inventor contributions to the Nation patent awardees are denied rights and benefits of their creations.

America is not the first theater of invention battles. The historical struggle between British monarchy and inventor rights resulted in the Statute of Monopolies which influenced America’s patent law.

Vision and Invention

Despite systemic obstacles inventors, innovators, and developers energized by a vision seek to refine virtual reality head displays. Billions have been invested to engage user experience.
A news article out of Los Angeles stated virtual reality head displays will engage users with gaming first and from the anticipated revenue will be followed by explorations in travel, real estate, healthcare, government, sports, television, movies and pornography. In support of this announcement a securities financial analyst who follows gaming companies was quoted as saying “Gaming is proof of concept.” But what does that assertion mean? Is not a head-display for gaming different than immersion in interactive virtual environments?

Success of virtual reality applications is expected to be measured by number of daily users, revenue per user, and time spent on a particular application says a consumer products analyst. One highly regarded industry leader joined the frenzy when it announced a $65-million investment into a virtual-reality film company.

The flurry of current attention given to virtual reality overshadows perhaps its most significant contribution to date. That contribution is the Virtual Reality Immersion Therapy method of treatment for anxiety and panic of phobia. Patients arrived in streams to participate in a study. A small news request for fear-of-heights volunteers placed in a local newspaper drew calls and letters from around the world. They came on weekends crowding the lobby and hallways of our psychiatry department for random assignment to groups. Even a man having lost one eye drove from Sacramento with hope of enrolling in a VRIT. He sought relief from his fears.

Virtual Reality Technology

The first portable virtual reality technology came from the United Kingdom. The England-Welch parent Company, DIVISION Inc., established satellite offices in the U.S. The portable ProVision 100 included immersive head-display fully interactive with tracking. It was the first time that Virtual Reality was used to conduct mental health research. Beginning in early 1990s, for more than 25 years Virtual Reality has been considered a fully interactive virtual environment experience. Immersion was initially achieved by use of a head display (goggles), 3D virtual environment with tracking, mouse or grip to achieve locomotion and ability to change the virtual environment by user.

In: Virtual Worlds, BBC author Benjamin Woolley (1992) asked: “What is virtual reality? It is the technology used to provide a more intimate ‘interface’ between humans and computer imagery. It is about simulating the full ensemble of sense data that make up ‘real’ experience. Ideally, the user wears a devise that substitutes the sense data coming from the natural world with that produced by a computer.” Head display, immersion, interaction, and tracking allow him or her to see and feel changes that occur while the User moving.

The term ‘virtual reality’ was introduced by Jaron Lanier, founder of VPL research. Ken Pimental & Kevin Teixeira state (1992) “Virtual reality is the place where humans and computers make contact…computers extend the capabilities of our minds. In general virtual reality refers to an immersive, interactive experience generated by a computer. VR is about creating something new. The primary defining characteristic of Virtual Reality is inclusion; being surrounded by an environment. Virtual Reality places the participant inside information….Virtual Reality immersion means the use of a head-mounted display and headphones for sound. The power of immersion is its ability to focus someone’s perceptual powers on a specific problem or experience.”

Those immersed in the virtual environment designed to treat acrophobia explored a room designed like a café. They looked about just as one would in the real world. Any change in head or body location resulted in change of view within the virtual environment. Walking between a counter and booths, the immersed person visually explored walls, seating, lighting, colors, bar taps, and door at the end of the room leading outdoors. They would soon encounter one of their worst fears, standing on a patio looking over a plank stretching toward a bridge. A complete discussion of treatment can be found in ‘virtual therapy.’

Since the early 1990’s Virtual Reality was determined to be beneficial in the treatment of mental health. The Department of Defense quickly adopted Virtual Reality Immersion Therapy (VRIT) to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. VRIT efficacy for mental health was proven in government funded university studies. Except for a few isolated locations VR failed to install in healthcare. Why?

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Virtual Iraq helping soldiers overcome PTSD

Unlawful Use and Fifth Amendment ‘Takings’

Dissemination of Virtual Reality Immersion Therapy (VRIT) stalled when government funding went to entities unfamiliar with healthcare. CEOs muddled by business acumen, clinical psychology, and treatment practices accepted commercialization money but failed to commercialize VRIT. Here’s how it happened: ‘Real life story of how FTF would cheat inventors’ unfolds in this link provided by a pro bono attorney:
In a federal court ruling the government defined VRIT as a medical treatment. The government then claimed it had a medical exemption to use VRIT citing statutes that don’t apply. The litigating attorney stated “The decision violates the Fifth Amendment’s taking clause. The decision authorizes the Government to take a compulsory Royalty Free license, which is directly contrary to the constitutional prohibition against the Government taking people’s property without just compensation. It also violates binding precedent.” Another Chief of IP Litigation stated “The Judge’s analysis seems very thin and perhaps outcome driven.” An Appeal would take another ten years. Implications of the ruling meant the inventor was denied ‘just compensation’ for the patented invention. VRIT has been successfully used in psychiatry for treatment of patients in the course of research. Virtual environment applications now follow the money. This trail unfolds values of the culture that creates interactive experiences focusing on guns, violence and pornography. Violence and sex sells. Whether these products sell because of strategic marketing or intrinsic user interest, the human mind focused on violence reflect values held by the person and by the culture in which they live. The mind is as much a part of the environment as a river of water. Both can be contaminated by pollutants. To what extent is the mental life of human character polluted?
Had funding been prioritized for mental health and medical applications, would VR enthusiasts be meeting in Hollywood for application demonstrations aimed at entertainment and film? There is on-going criticism of healthcare concerning priorities and preferences. Why has a proven treatment not been adopted? What do technology and healthcare leaders need to know in order to provide the public with socially beneficial technology known as Virtual Reality Immersion Therapy? Famous philosopher Erasmus said ‘Habit replaces Habit.’
VR technology and applications require funding to advance. There is no shortage of money flowing to VR entertainment. When VR advances into realms polluting hearts and minds the developers and distributers will deny accountability. War and violence applications are influencing users by observational learning. Veterans are still haunted by such memories. Memory is the container of experience.
Have technology, healthcare, and funding decision makers failed to grasp the significance of immersive Virtual Reality as a non-invasive method of education, prevention and treatment? Patient suicides are occurring on healthcare campuses. Psychiatry prescribes pharmaceuticals with known significant placebo effects. Psychiatric colleagues estimate psychoactive medication placebo effects range up to 80 percent. One elderly woman recently jumped to her death from a healthcare parking garage in a pointed statement to her provider in nearby offices. Virtual Reality Immersion Therapy is a non-invasive treatment influencing thinking, emotion, and behavior. Compare VRIT to medication. Ask veterans dosed with antipsychotic medication in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder what they would prefer? Research results showed the antipsychotic medication had no effect, none whatsoever on PTSD. Millions misspent. What would a patient choose when presented with the opportunity to develop personal efficacy developed in a non-invasive form of treatment known as Virtual Reality Immersion Therapy or medication? In the first case of VRIT patients would rightly attribute mental health gains to their own efforts practiced in virtual environments. These people will depart with confidence to influence themselves. In the second case patients attribute getting better to medication.
Character, Culture, and Virtual Reality

What kind of human character is U.S. culture producing? Killings and mass shooting seem to dominate daily news. The President says ‘politics have to change. The main thing I’m gonna do is talk about it.’ Mental disturbance is easily attributed to shooters. ‘Why should America be the only country failing to protect families?’ complained an Oregon representative. But stale calls for new legislation do not address real obstacles to effective prevention of violence, gun violence, and mass slaughters in America. Legislation may help. But it doesn’t address deeper issues in American culture. “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices” said psychologist William James. News media announced ‘Public colleges are not liable for violence on campus.’ Is this a step in the right direction? How can the ruling be justified? Consider violence is connected with continuous mental and emotional character development from birth to death. People kill. Guns facilitate.
Are we so exposed and habituated to violence that no amount of human slaughter will draw our attention? And why are we encouraging violence with the use of powerful VR technology when it could be used for healing? Who do you know wrestling with chemical dependency or has died because of it? Where are VR applications for character development? Where are virtual environments for the treatment of depression? Assessment in VR reveals attributes of patient character and may have the possibility to influence it. Is entertainment the future? Is it the best that can be imagined? Where’s the vision and will to action? Pope Francis during U.S. visit said ‘Pray for me.’ But you better pray for yourselves because no one is going to offer a hand as the culture failing in character mental development descends further into an abyss of chaos and fragmentation. You say someone else will help? Who? Please step forward.
Look at the desperation of humans migrating across continents? People, families, men, women and children suffering under dictatorships, military occupation, violence, and trauma seek asylum. But once they arrive then what? Arrival in a new country does not mean healing from trauma will occur. Who is stepping in to help? What is the help? VRIT projected on screens for hundreds to learn and experience skills for personal efficacy is one small example of vision. Have our hearts become so withered that reaching out to help is too much of a burden? Here we are witnessing those willfully blind to a global catastrophic environment. That same environment in which you live is polluting body, mind, and spirit.

U.S. Entrepreneurship and Virtual Reality

Current industry leadership is encouraged to embrace a vision that advances accelerated learning in immersive virtual reality. Major corporations underexposed to history of philosophical and ‘letters patent’ precedents that once promoted thinking to benefit the people now look to take from people. All is not lost. Individuals are inventors not corporations. Small entities need to assert themselves to change a culture in decline to a culture empathic of human struggle. Small entities will educate us by production of technologies and applications that encourage learning. Education is the key to advancing personal and social well-being. Virtual Reality Immersion Therapy may have been sidestepped and wrongly treated by federal courts but others will emerge. The Nation must demand that federal courts truly represent citizens as the ‘People Court’ and as ‘Keepers of the Nations Conscience.’ The courts must stop the government’s prerogative to take patented inventions in summary judgments or give those inventions to favored industries by manipulation of claims construction.
Legal scholar Adam Mossoff tells us “In the eighteenth century, John Locke’s labor theory of property would serve to justify the belief that patents reflect a right to property that should be protected by the courts.” Federal court is acting like a monopoly producer when ‘taking’ patents and awarding them to the Government. Mossoff continues: “Lord Coke condemnation (1719) of ‘odious monopolies’ is still a dominant thought at this time. As Coke declared: Generally all monopolies are against the magna carta, because they are against the liberty and freedom of the subject and the law of the land.” The current climate for protecting patent is predates 1719.
Here’s what President Lincoln promised. Not appropriation of inventor’s rights but


Two billion for a head display. Millions invested for VR entertainment. How much for VRIT in healthcare?
What could be accomplished with an investment of 20 million dollars? In one year Virtual Reality Immersion Therapy would flourish. People seeking help prefer health focused treatments rather than pathology oriented entities. Offices would eventually be established across the country. Large healthcare seems to be committed to placebo pharmaceuticals in psychiatry departments emphasizing treatment of disease compared to Virtual Reality Immersion Therapy which emphasizes personal mental health through learning. True, other forms of therapy are available but often time limited and most certainly delayed. Fly through virtual environments show there are no walls or boundaries just as there are no boundaries to human awareness.
In ending I would like to quote journalist and reporter Edward R. Murrow. Inserts are indicated by brackets. Replace the word television with virtual reality:

“It is my desire, if not my duty, to try to talk to you [corporate leaders] with some candor about what is happening to [technology]. And if what I say is responsible, I, alone, am responsible for the saying of it.
Our history will be what we make it. And if there are any historians about 50 or 100 years from now — and there should be preserved the kinescopes of one week of all three networks — they will there find, recorded in black and white and in color, evidence of decadence, escapism, and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live. We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable, and complacent. We have a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information.
Our mass media reflect this.

But unless we…recognize that television [and next virtual reality] in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us, then [virtual reality], and those who finance it, those who look at it, and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late.

I began by saying that our history will be what we make it. If we go on as we are, then history will take its revenge and retribution will not limp in catching up with us. Just once in a while let us exalt the importance of ideas and information. Let us dream to the extent of saying that [virtual reality can and will be used to help people]. Would the corporate image of their respective sponsors be damaged?
Would the shareholders rise up in their wrath and complain?

Would anything happen, other than a few million people would have received a little illumination on subjects that may well determine the future of this country — and therefore the future of the corporations?
To those who say people wouldn’t look, they wouldn’t be interested, they’re too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter’s opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost.

This instrument [virtual reality immersion therapy] can teach. It can illuminate and, yes, it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it towards those ends. 
Otherwise, it is merely wires and lights — in a box.”

Good night and good luck. Dr.Ralph.J.Lamson


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Dr. Ralph J. Lamson

Dr. Ralph J. Lamson is a visionary psychologist who launched the first clinical research of virtual reality in the treatment of acrophobia. His acquaintance with technology and applied research included seismic refraction studies profiling the crustal structure between the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf. Twenty-five years later IEEE Digital Senses Technology for Humanity opened door to learn more about his dogged pursuit. Momentum for social and technological renaissance aimed at helping people took a step forward. Dr. Lamson was awarded CyberEdge Journal Product of the Year for application of Virtual Therapy to Anxiety Disorders. He authored US Patent 6425764, acquired trademark VIRTIGO, and published VIRTUAL THERAPY while continuing efforts to install VR immersion therapy in health care.

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