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How AR can Serve as a Tool to Fight Stress during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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By Team Digital Jalebi

The entire planet is going through stressful times, unlike any before. Being confined to ones’ home and only venturing out for a brief period to buy essential goods takes a toll on even the toughest person. People who regularly played in parks or went for long walks aren’t doing so anymore. Without a doubt, they miss the exhilaration that being outdoors and partaking in the joy physical activity brings. Now that people can’t do these things, they feel tightly wound up and need a way to release their pent up frustration.

Using Technology to Fight Stress
Ask a sociologist, and they will say that one of the purposes of movies is catharsis. Watching an engrossing movie helps release pent up emotions which contributes to emotional well being. Music also serves a similar cathartic function. Songs bring emotions to the surface where they can be grappled with and understood.

Video games serve a similar purpose. While playing an action-packed video game, players become so immersed that their brain releases chemicals that are similar to those excreted during intense physical activity. Immersive games transport players into worlds with unlimited possibilities. By fighting off enemies in video games, navigating complex maps, and solving challenging puzzles, players channel their emotions and attain a catharsis.

The newest avatar of gaming comes in the form of Augmented Reality or AR.

AR is the Next Dimension in Gaming
Movies, music, and gaming help release pent up emotions, the result of which is a calmer mind. AR is the next level of gaming, and it can help dissipate stress and emotions better than any other medium. Today when hundreds of millions are confined to their homes, their need to blow off steam is intense. AR is a tool that helps people vent out their frustration and attain serenity.

How AR Works
AR merges computer-generated images with everyday reality. It is not a fully immersive technology; instead, it brings computer-generated images into the real world. For instance, a person wearing an AR headset while sitting in his or her living room can see digital images existing side by side with what’s already in the room. The person can interact with the digitally created images which are contextually aware of objects in the living room.

Being contextually aware they help create immersive experiences few other mediums, except perhaps Virtual Reality, can equal.

Contextually Aware Experiences
The experience of playing a game in AR is similar to performing it in the real world.  Wearing an AR headset and playing a game in the living room, a person can lock horns with virtually created characters. For instance, a player who enjoys swashbuckling can be pitted against virtually created pirates while the player is in his or her living room.

The experience is very immersive because the digital created pirates will be contextually aware of an object in the living room. Being contextually aware, they will face the same limitations as the player faces in the real world. For instance, a dining table in the middle of a living room will create a barrier for virtual pirates. When they come to attack the swashbuckling hero, they will have to find a way around the table and other objects in the living room.

Such immersive experiences, during a time of social distancing, can serve as a way of experiencing the same excitement one could have enjoyed outdoors. With an AR headset, a small apartment or living room can become as vast as the cosmos. A person wearing an AR headset can walk through substantial virtual worlds that are as fantastic as anything found in nature. He can fight with an unlimited array of characters who obey the same laws of physics the player does.

Immersion in gorgeous and engaging virtual worlds elicits emotions in people similar to those they experience when they are surrounded by beautiful scenery in the real world. As a result of being immersed in a world created by AR, people attain a deep catharsis that contributes to their well being.


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