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May 14, 2020

Sitting At The Crossroads Of Intimacy, Mental Health & Immersive Technology

Welcome to Future Visual’s new bi-weekly podcast, Building New Realities. Future Visual’s new fortnightly podcast, discusses ideas and stories around building new realities with today’s XR thought leaders.

This week my guest is Sarah Ticho, immersive health pioneer and founder of Hatsumi VR, a research and design studio that works at the intersection of arts, health and immersive technology to develop experiences that challenge how we think and feel about the world and imagine the future of health and wellbeing.

Sarah has spent her career working across the interdisciplinary arts, academia, healthcare and immersive technology as a producer, curator and researcher.  Sarah is project lead on VulVR, a webVR experience exploring female pleasure and sexual education in VR; A freelance producer with Explore Deep; Healthcare Lead at Immerse UK and Death Doula in training. 

I talked to Sarah about how VR can make a difference in the future of health, why she is excited about developing interactive pleasure to alleviate sexual awkwardness and disorders and why environments are becoming even more important during COVID-19. 

Notes on Ep 3 In Conversation with Sarah Ticho

Sarah’s  interest in using virtual reality (VR) for healthcare solutions started after she had a one off mental health crisis and could not find a treatment that really resonated with her. The doctors were quick to prescribe although she had difficulty relaying her psychotic episode – something she discovered VR could resolve. 

Sarah has taken her expertise using virtual reality to develop a pain management tool that can be used in physical and mental health to manage pain.  

Sarah has been producing Explore Deep which focuses on deep breath control using VR to guide the breath. By making treatments interactive, Sarah has seen people engage more with their therapies and treatment. 

Immersive space provides a good environment for introverts. People  are no longer judged by their appearance in VR and they are not judged via eye contact. People are judged by the quality of their conversation and the quality of their involvement – through VR, bias can now be eliminated. 

Sarah is project lead for VulVR and shares her first body transfer and illusion experience in VR – that of being bodied in another body. Sarah is inspired developing the sex education angle for VulVR – it’s important to her that it’s an experience made for women by women.  

Sarah touches on the wider context of using virtual reality (VR). What kind of social spaces are we creating? This was recently brought to light for Sarah when she was about to speak at Virtual Medicine in the US  when it was cancelled due to the Coronavirus. Sarah and some other doctors decided to meet up in a virtual space where one of the speakers read from a touching letter and to support her the fellow attendees put their arms around her in a way not possible using Zoom or video conferencing.  There was a real reliance on emotional support and emotional engagement by using immersive tech to join together in this way. 

Read our blog about VR remote collaboration.

Theories

Solomon’s paradox – One’s ability to reason more sensibly about someone else’s problems than one’s own.

Articles

Conversations between self and self as Sigmund Freud—A virtual body ownership paradigm for self counselling – Sofia Adelaide Osimo, Rodrigo Pizarro, Bernhard Spanlang & Mel Slater 

Pain Management using VR – Kay Smith

Book recommendations

Future PresenceFuture Presence: How Virtual Reality Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limits of Ordinary Life – Peter Rubin 

A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster– Rebecca Solnit

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well – Meik Wiking

Building New Realities is published every 2 weeks on: 

Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify and Apple Podcasts

Building New Realities Episode 3 was presented by Tim Fleming, Founder of Future Visual, the award winning VR & AR company. Future Visual helps teams achieve faster routes to competency at a reduced risk with VR & AR training solutions. Ground breaking immersive experiences delivering ROI. Future Visual’s VR collaboration tool VISIONxR™ extends your workplace to join remote VR team meetings from remote global locations to collaborate and learn, enhancing high value productivity.