Obstacles Author: Ricki Lewis

Sidebar: Science Studios
Anyone who's played a video game, gazed up in a planetarium, or taken Disney World's trip through the human body has glimpsed computer-created environments. Adding to that the ability to interact with the cyberworld produces what is popularly known as "virtual reality" (VR). Although life-sciences applications of the technology are just beginning, already variations on the VR theme are proving valuable in such areas as new drug development, teaching and investigating chromosome structure, and communicating with colleagues.

The subject of two television shows (Fox's "VR5" and ABC's "Sliders"), monthly conferences and exhibitions, and proliferating articles, VR is very much in the public and scientific eye. And this month marks the debut of the Journal of Medicine and Virtual Reality, published by New York-based Virtual Reality Solutions Inc., reflecting increasing interest in that very applied market. The technology "will become a basic scientific research...

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