Just Relax is a Meditation app for the Samsung Gear VR, With all the chaos that surrounds us on a daily basis a mediation app makes a lot of sense. According to Advisory.com Americans Have spent over 30 Billion on yoga, Meditation and other Complementary healthcare last year. lets break it down.
- 14.7 Billion out-of-pocket on visits to complementary practitioners—such as acupuncturists, chiropractors, and massage therapists.
- $12.8 billion on natural product supplements, which was about 25 percent of consumers’ out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs
- $2.7 billion on self-care approaches, such as self-help books or audio recordings.
YouTube has Whole channels dedicated to it, TheHonestGuys is a meditation Channel that have almost 600,000 subscribers. their most popular video has over 63 million views. Another Channel called outstanding Videos has a video called “Relaxing 3 hour Video Of A Tropical Beach with Blue sky White Sand and Palm Tree” It has 8.4 million views.
There’s definitely a great market for this type of App in VR. Paul Davis Founder of Mostly Human Studios has created the best one so far. Using a mix of 3d rendered stereo panoramas and real time game vfx allowing us to see high resolution 3D scenes with full bounce lighting and shaders that reflect and refract light realistically. Which makes the whole image pop out with mind blowing beauty, even the sand is textured! The technique puts this all together in way which would be too expensive to put together on a mobile platform normally. If you are developing an app for the Gear VR stand up and take note; because Paul Davis has created animated Battlefield One level graphics on a cell phone, in VR.
The reason why I brought up the video “Relaxing 3 hour Video Of A Tropical Beach with Blue sky White Sand and Plam Tree” is because Just Relax takes that same premise and utilizes it wonderfully, and unlike a standard 2D video, you have the ability to look around and truly feel immersed in your environment, relaxing you more than ever.
I asked Paul what inspired him to make an App like this in VR he said.
” I’ve been a game developer for nearly 20 years and worked for or with many of the big name publishers I’ve done lots of VR test projects for fun, but this is my first solo VR effort. I love making visual stuff like rendering and am also into photography, I did all of the art for the app and even bashed a few buttons and made the music for the opening screen too. During a bit of a tough and stressful period in my life, about 3 years ago, I was introduced to VR on the Oculus DK1, and I was blown away. I realised at that point there could be potential for VR to impact people’s lives in a positive way and not just be for gaming and watching movies (which I love), but at that moment the idea of a stress relief app came into being.
One of the great strengths of VR as a medium is that it can transport you to anywhere, real or fantasy and trick your brain into believing what you see and can genuinely affect your mood and emotional state in a more immediate and visceral way more than any other medium in my opinion. So the experience of being on a virtual beach is more convincing than was possible using traditional media, and can genuinely make you feel like you’ve been somewhere, and it can affect your mood in a positive way, which is a great thing!”
Can VR Therapy really help?
Albert Rizzo of the director of medical virtual reality at the University of California’s Institute for Creative Technologies knows it can. VR is already helping people all over the world with mental health anxiety disorders, In its traditional format, exposure therapy relies on imagination, and (in the case of PTSD) the patient to narrate his or her traumatic experience as if it’s happening in the present. Naturally, this can be a very painful process; however, guided by a therapist in a safe setting, the idea is to confront your fears rather than avoid them.
“PTSD and anxiety disorders, like phobias, are characterized and propagated by avoidance. When you avoid something in fear, or it makes you feel anxious, you get a temporary sense of relief, and that reinforces continued avoidance. The brain of that person doesn’t learn that was then, this is now, and that things that are reminiscent of the trauma are no longer going to hurt you, and you’re in a safe environment.”
In normal exposure Therapy, you are put in situations that force your body and more importantly; your mind, by gradually increasingly the intensity until you confront and process the difficult emotional memories; and help you to realize you can go beyond the problem. Giving you back your life.
Itsy on the Gear VR
I reviewed an app last year called Itsy by Mimerse which did this very thing, the app would expose you to different levels of spiders, first starting off with a spider that was non threatening, by adding a cartoony football Helmet, then after a few exercises, it would lose the helmet and shoes and be a regular cartoony spider. it then progresses with normal spiders, to one the largest most poisonous spiders in the world. The dreaded funnel-web spider.
One of the stages you had to let the spider crawl up a web next to you. And you just stared it. The app intrigued me cause while I don’t have a crippling fear of spiders, I don’t love them crawling at me. I tried it out, and it worked! Spiders don’t freak me out anymore! Having a huge spider and even one as dangerous as the Australian Funnel-Web Spider to crawl right by you would be impossible in a real world environment. VR is a great place to start and having been through it multiple times I can testify that Isty works!
Just Relax is an app that can benefit anyone who needs a bit relaxation in your life. For me personally, I Just lost my father, he was 83 years old and died of complications of pneumonia. He passed away surrounded by family, and it was just about as peaceful as a passing I can could imagine. However, I feel his loss deeply in my life; I find that I have been getting easily distracted and its been difficult to focus on doing things had previously brought me a lot of happiness. When I tried out Just Relax, it was like I stepped out of my body and I transported to the time when I went to the Bahamas with my family, and I sat on the beach and listened to the waves slowly crash on to the beach and it brought me so much comfort. I sat there stunned, the visuals are so incredible I could almost feel the warm sand under my toes and the calming warm sun on my skin. I found that by touching the touchpad you can change the time of day from midday, to a beautiful red sunset, then to a night sky with flickering candles and twinkling stars. I am going to use this app everyday, to Just Relax if only for a few moments in fact i’m going to use it right now…
( 3 Hours later )
So I just got done with what I will call a session with the app and I need to add a few things. What I feel could be added in a future update is that with the wind and birds chirping, I would love to see some movement of the branches in the palm trees. Nothing dramatic, such a slight sway; That would really up the Immersive-ness of the app. And maybe even a bird to fly by.
Having said that it was so calming that I dozed off, and what woke me was I didn’t hear the Birds chirping or waves.. So I opened my eyes and I saw the starry sky, but it looked slightly different, I sat up in my lazy boy and saw that during my nap my phone had over heated and was giving me a over heat warning. That amazed me Cause my S7 has never overheated on me no matter what game I have thrown at it. So I thought I would add that, it will heat up your phone pretty good, if used for long periods of time. If Paul Davis can make visuals this stunning with a beach, imagine what he could do with other environments, I cant wait to see what Paul can produce in the future!