Virtual Reality & Immersive Technology Program
Stanford Psychiatry's Virtual Reality & Immersive Technology (VRIT) Program, directed by Kim Bullock, MD, is the first clinically focused academic endeavor dedicated to studying immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in mental and behavioral health settings in a broad range of disciplines. We are a group of interdisciplinary academics passionate and called upon to evaluate, innovate, and disseminate advances in the field of virtual and augmented reality technology in real world clinical settings.
Our internal experience is powerfully shaped by physical sensations. VR is a technology that is capable of creating perceptual illusions that can change how you feel and possibly what you believe. Your own imagination can also be thought of as the original virtual reality device. VR is actually an extension and a booster for the imagination. For example, VR can deliver the visual and tactile experience of having poisonous spiders crawling on your body which can illicit intense emotions and urges to escape. It can do this much more intensely than simply imagining this scenario. With the recent development and merging of three dimensional cameras with wearable and other tracking devices, we can now can provide realistic and immersive experiences that are customizable.
We can now personalize and precisely create experiences that can create experiential illusions that can take you to a different location, give you a different type of body, or enable you to interact in a specific social setting. This technology provides an unprecedented level of accurate, objective, measurement based data for behavioral scientists to analyze. Some perceptual illusions show potential to permanently change the motor, sensory, and emotional systems of the brain. Our program is using these devices to transform mental, physical, and behavioral functioning.