Augmented and Virtual Reality to potentiate cognitive capabilities

Modern society is characterised by an enormous distractibility happening to anyone of us. We live in the multitasking era, during which everybody is occupied with various activities at the same time. But all of them are faced in an appropriate way.

What is the role of AR and VR in recovering the cognitive abilities of people?

Multitasking: a non-human capability


Evolution didn’t make human beings a multitasking creature, despite all the attempts made to face several occupations at the same time. Multitasking requires the execution of various duties and activities at the same time, even unlinked between them, and it causes obvious consequences over cognitive capabilities: a division of the attention over duties of different kinds, leads to a decrease over time of performances.

A regrettable attention prevents from an enough storing of information into memory, making difficult, if not impossible, the memorising task and data retention.

Under a merely social perspective, nowadays routine is characterised by precarious relationships and by fleeting emotions and experiences. Nothing lasts for long periods of time, it all flows at high speed and only little parts of our memory last.

Fleeting experiences and precarious relationships: how can technology help?

Man is by now used to live in a constant race, granting a temporary stay that doesn’t leave the time to fix all the information into memory. It is the identical mechanism that leads every lived experience.
For example, this dynamic of precarity can be clearly noticed by people who visit an exhibition at museums: it often happens that in front of a painting we get lost into other kind of thoughts and activities that have nothing to do with the exhibition purpose. It isn’t possible for them to remain focused on one item, and as time passes, it becomes more and more difficult doing it.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have a strong impact on attention and mnemonic performances: by creating engaging and immersive experiences, they lead people to enjoy the proposed contents at 360 degrees. Experiences of this kind force you to remain focused on what happens “here and now”, clearing the mind from distractions. All companies who decide to open their doors to Virtual and Augmented Reality, can indeed notice the positive impact on public, and the surprising ability to transfer information and contents with great effectiveness.

3d cinema as precursor of Virtual Reality

The research of all-round experiences isn’t a new thing born with innovative technologies: in 1957, inventor Morton Heilig filed a patent for Sensorama, a machine which created a new experience of cinema, made of images, sounds, smells and vibrations. It then gave birth to 3D cinema, the precursor of Virtual Reality, but which was not as lucky as this last one.

The reasons behind the scarce success of 3D are linked to the fact that it is only another way of watching TV, but which doesn’t create any added value to the experience itself, but instead creates only limits in space and instruments.

Augmented and Virtual Reality instead, not only propose an alternative way to enjoy the visualization, but also a very different experience, to the point that Neurosciences have been studying this phenomenon, by observing what happens in the brain when someone has experiences of this kind. Scientists have had the chance to notice repeatedly that during these AR and VR experiences, inside our brain the area involved in the reading activity activates, with a higher intensity.

Through the comparation of data emerged by the parameters regarding memory and apprehension capabilities, it emerged that these new technologies are more effective in communicating than other traditional means.

Not by chance, the markets with higher potentiality for AR and VR to find a place are the ones based on tourism, museums and entertaining, being sectors that require a fast transmission of information and knowledge.

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