Technology is the pre-eminent enabler of functionality within human society in modern times. The advent and advancement of cutting-edge technology, such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence, has fundamentally changed the way we undertake tasks and operations. Besides the interfacing of humans and machines through technology like brain-machine interface, there has a spurt of innovations in the area of interfacing the virtual and the real, using Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) technologies. The concepts of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can be seen as two two sides of a coin. By presenting reality through technology, they both seek to increase a person’s sensory experience. The former enhances existing aspects with more layers of meaning whereas the latter premises the experience on an entirely different and alternate setting. Virtual Reality (VR) is closely related to the advancement of home computers and online simulations, which create a parallel realm of existence. On the other hand, Augmented Reality (AR) blends actual and virtual items while also being dynamic and operational in three-dimension.

Milgram and Kishino define the Milgram Reality-Virtuality Continuum as a path that connects the physical world with the digital world, with Augmented Rreality (AR) and Augmented Virtuality (AV) in between. Morton Heilig’s creation – Sensorama (1962) pushed the notion of inhabiting a different reality, describing it as ‘The Cinema of the Future’ as it incorporated a variety of senses (touch, sight, smell and hearing) in an integrated cinematic experience. Since then, advances in computation have aided in the construction of technologically advanced surroundings. At key points along the way, Sutherland and Sproull created the first head-mounted display (HMD) device in 1968, the Aspen Movie Map simulation was created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978, and Jaron Lanier investigated how to bring together sensory inputs with virtual environments in the 1980s. The features and characteristics of these alternate modes of reality and existence are ever-evolving and varying, with socio-economic factors affecting the scope and definition of the technology.

Meta-basis and Platforms for AR/VR Technologies

The paradigm of augmented and virtual reality has been more than just about technological advancement in encompassing a philosophy, an essence drawing from reality and yet infusing it with a flux that increases its functionality. As Curtis Hickman once said,

“Virtual reality is all about democratizing storytelling. It gives people more control over the experience. Instead of trying to force a story upon you, we try and give you this huge playground through which you will create stories that you will then share through this medium.”

The philosophical moorings and meta-basis of augmented and virtual reality draws from the idea of an adaptive representation of reality which is user-centred, not just in the experience of the reality but also in its creation and adaptations. As Mark Cantrell once said,

“In AR, a falling tree makes no sound unless there is a witness to behold the event. Otherwise, it is only a changing pattern in a complex data-stream.”

What has fascinated many is the ontological premise of augmented or virtual reality technologies. For instance, both virtual reality and conscious experience present us with an integrated ontology, although there are questions around self-representation and realisation within internal frames of reference that restrict our ability to reach anywhere close to equating the two. Real-world phenomena and virtual content within AR/VR platforms vary along a continuum of phenomenal transparency, going from explicit virtuality to projected realism. The phenomenology of virtual reality is characterized by what can be called `incomplete immersion’ with different degrees of phenomenological opacity. Philosophers like David Chalmers have recently stated that the ‘reality’ in virtual reality is no less than a real-world phenomenology, the only variance being that the former is based on bits of information unlike the latter that is built on quarks and electrons, among other subatomic constituent particles.

Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies span a whole plethora of enabling platforms and methods. From the same vantage point that tracking cameras use to capture photos of the actual scene, computer vision generates 3D virtual objects. The computer vision techniques used for augmented reality picture registration are primarily connected to video tracking. The two stages of these techniques are typically tracking and reconstructing/recognizing. First, interest points, optical pictures, and fiducial markers are found in the images captured. To analyze the camera images for tracking, feature extraction, edge enhancement, or other image processing algorithms may be used. From its relationship with wearable AR to its most contemporaneous connection to handheld phones, which depends on geolocation characteristics and related software, augmented reality has been evolving.

A wide range of industries, including marketing, tourism, and education, are investing more in augmented and virtual reality research and practical applications. Location-based augmented reality can contribute to the development of a more placed, collaborative, and authentic educational experience. We shall focus especially on the area of education in this policy report. Regardless of their differences, integrated virtual reality and augmented reality have comparable objectives, in aiming to enhance and embellish or, in the case of virtual reality, generate novel nuances of, reality. In doing so, the key idea is to optimise functionality and justify the intervention, even meta-dynamically. At a purely conceptual level, the synergies of the enhanced and the enhancing, the imposed and the underlying, is vital. Virtual reality looks at constructing alternate scenarios or fundamentally new aspects of a system of reality. Augmented reality increases authenticity, depth and understanding of an existing reality.

Points of Scrutiny for Effective AR/VR Policy

There are four primary policy-areas that must be carefully scrutinised for effective policy on AR/VR technology in India today:

1. Efficient methods of minimising manufacturing and implementation costs along with generating maintenance costs, in a self-reliant model, without alienating anyone, socially or economically.

2. Preparation of operators, with awareness of digital security and ways to offset (as well as recover technological operability) network errors and problems, along with training of operator health-wise to handle AR/VR technology.

3. Facilitation of constructivism-oriented strategies when deploying AR/VR in different applications, with the emphasis being on independent generation and usage of these technologies by the user(s), even as the regulations for AR/VR are firmly in place.

4. Application oriented preparedness with a calibrative as well as reflexive model, which not only calibrates its characteristics based on real-time dynamics but also incorporates learning outcomes from multiple iterations of the AR/VR operation.

Expanding the possible user population and hastening the adoption of AR/VR solutions can be accomplished by laying a solid basis for equity and inclusion. Policymakers and business leaders should incorporate feedback from communities that are frequently underrepresented in the creation of products and policies in order to maximise the benefits of new technologies for a wide range of consumers. Immersive environments can provide customised experiences that are tailored to each user’s specific privacy, accessibility and safety demands because they are digitally produced. The impact of broader equity issues, such as access to supporting technologies, varied representation, and easily available viable alternatives to virtual services and locations, should be taken into account by AR/VR creators.

By defining whether and how inclusivity, anti-discrimination, and privacy protections apply to AR/VR technologies, policymakers can reduce regulatory uncertainty. Government organisations should spend money on research and development to promote advances in AR/VR that could increase equality and inclusion, such accessible design, and apply inclusive AR/VR solutions throughout the government. For both public and private sector use, policymakers should set comprehensive guidelines and unambiguous criteria for inclusive AR/VR in collaboration with industry leadership and stakeholder groups.

Problem-solving with, and Best Practices around, AR/VR Technology

The majority of AR/VR systems and platforms are still in the nascent stages for both consumer and business use, but as they advance, become more accessible, and become more user-friendly, they might have profound, transformative effects on the way individuals operate, develop, and interact. AR/VR aficionados picture a world in which virtual worlds are as pervasive, entertaining, and accessible as their physical counterparts. This revolution won’t happen overnight, but it will start sooner if organisations, governments, and developers of AR/VR technologies take a wide range of user demands into account from the beginning. In society, AR/VR can be crucially significant, especially in terms of justice and equity. Users who might have difficulty carrying out everyday tasks owing to distance or mobility issues may be able to navigate these locations virtually and remotely thanks to AR/VR systems and platforms. Additionally, these technologies can present fresh ways to create networks of support and communities that span geographical boundaries.

AR/VR devices and applications are able to strategically enable people better understand the perspectives of others because immersive experiences give consumers the feeling of being really there. This is a helpful tool that could help engineers design better products and police officers acknowledge their implicit biases. In order to make sure that the needs and concerns of the communities that are frequently largely absent in product development and implementation processes are taken into account, product designers as well as implementing organisations should actively seek out and incorporate input from these communities. The extremely customizable nature of AR/VR devices should be used by inclusive solutions to include universal design principles, specifically to cater to a broad range of user wishes and capabilities. Finally, when creating and implementing AR/VR solutions, governments and industry leaders should take into account elements other than the equipment and applications themselves, such as adoption and availability to high-speed Internet.

Besides customers and developers, policymakers defining governmental and regulatory responses to emerging technologies should look for varied perspectives as AR/VR solutions proliferate across sectors. Policymakers and government organisations should make sure that both government use of these systems as well as the current regulatory frameworks that may apply to other uses maximise potential advantages while also preempting and avoiding possible unintended consequences. This is similar to how the businesses developing AR/VR devices and applications do.

Adaptive Solutions, User Representation and Access Points

Accessible applications and services must include adaptive solutions. The ability of partially or completely virtual worlds to provide users more alternatives and at cheaper prices than their physical equivalents places AR/VR systems and applications in a position to include inclusive and accessible engineering into their design. Users, especially those with disabilities, are frequently left to figure out workarounds or other alternatives when confronted with inaccessible technology. Users won’t have to develop solutions on their own when options that are accessible from the start are presented. The choice of the user’s unique avatar in the alternative (virtual) world is another part of individualization that shouldn’t be ignored. Depending on experience and the type of contact, the degree of customization may change, ranging from exact portrayal in professional contexts to greater flexibility in terms of look and qualities in social environments and scenarios.

Users must have control over how they represent themselves in virtual environments. This guarantees that real-world variety is reflected in cyberspace and gives individuals the option to choose whether to hide characteristics of their identities that can put them at danger of discrimination or harassment, especially in unfamiliar social contexts. In multi-user virtual environments, users must ideally be able to choose what data they share with others, similar to how people on social media can choose which information about their accounts to make publicly available. It is crucial to allow customers to be able decide over how they want to exercise their individual autonomy in multi-user virtual experiences, whether they are used for leisure, work-related cooperation, or other forms of interpersonal contact. People should be able to take part in multi-user activities even in unfamiliar zones and settings, without worrying about their safety. This necessitates the employment of both general community regulations and specific user tools.

By giving users the skills to set boundaries that prevent others from infringing upon their personal space, silence other users they feel threatened from, withdraw from an engagement or encounter, and report incidents of harassment and bullying to moderators of the platform or other enforcement bodies, AR/VR applications can truly empower users. Diverse technical capabilities and access points of their variety of user populations should be factored into the equation in equitable AR/VR methods. For instance, some users might not have access to cutting-edge headgear or wearable technology and stable or efficient Internet connections, and instead depend on handheld phones or desktop PCs to access AR/VR applications. The position of the potential user is particularly important since some users may use AR/VR systems and applications in public areas, which may restrict their freedom of movement, right to privacy, or duration of immersive experience time.

Legal Frameworks and Constitutional Protection for User Rights and Security

The established legal structures for addressing issues pertaining to accessibility and preventing discrimination in physical places might also lessen the possibility of these kinds of harms occurring in the virtual-world context. The application of current rules and regulations to specific AR/VR solutions, however, is not always apparent. Uncertainty in the regulatory environment can stifle innovation and have legal ramifications if the standards for conformance are not made explicit from the start. In terms of equity, access, and inclusion, AR/VR applications and services do not necessitate novel legislations that are oriented around specific technologies. Nonetheless, regulators must make clear how current regulations apply to these technologies. In the realm both of AR and VR applications, regulators should examine current regulations and give guidance for point-of-departure compliance. Besides this, there needs to be creative variations as and where required for the idiosyncratic nuances of the virtual environment therein.

India lacks a distinct piece of data protection legislation, in contrast to the US or EU. Personal data, biometric data, and sensitive personal data are all defined in the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011. The IT Rules stipulate that consent must be acquired before any data is collected, that the privacy policy must be adequately disclosed, and that information must only be gathered for legitimate and essential purposes. Only where it can be demonstrated that a data controller has treated personal information improperly and when there has been an unjustified loss does Section 43A of the IT Act offer a remedy. Because the data is utilised to engage with an `embellished real world’ in AVR programmes, the tendency of the user to accept the data that the developers supply may be high but there are also significant risks involved. Therefore, compared to traditional apps, the culpability of application developers should be higher. Due to the potentially significant repercussions of cybersecurity incidents in AVR programmes, this is especially crucial. Since AR applications can not only collect audiovisual data but also analyze and integrate information about a user’s environs in real – time basis, they pose questions about realistic constitutional protections in public spaces. Particular privacy concerns for onlookers may arise from this information gathering, particularly if law and government enforcement exploit the technology. Administrators and the government should establish rules for law enforcement to follow when formulating and implementing AR/VR solutions so that rights safeguards for the communities where they are used are upheld. The issue of equal opportunity in AR/VR is being addressed by a number of efforts, but there are still a lot of unresolved questions that are preventing a wider examination and implementation of inclusive technologies.

Inadequate comprehension of the prospective health impacts of immersive experiences, the effectiveness of AR/VR-based training and support, and the possible application of these innovations as assistive technologies or in other specific uses are just a few of the knowledge gaps that exist. State agencies should sponsor studies and activities that provide a solid body of knowledge about both the ways that AR/VR might foster sustainable and inclusive development and the possible hazards or hurdles that AR/VR solutions can pose for marginalised populations in order to speed up these efforts. There has to be a pipeline created by integrating research in academia and industry with socio-economic and psychological feedback and surveillance of the impact of such technologies. Product liability and protection is fairly well-defined for tangible goods under the Indian constitution. However, some contend that since augmented and virtual reality apps are `intangible’, they do not quite qualify as `goods’. This brings in a question of interpretation of what it means to qualify something as `goods’. According to the Supreme Court of India, `goods’ can be either tangible or immaterial under Indian law and has a broad definition under the Sale of Goods Act. In the Tata Consultancy Services v. State of Andhra Pradesh (2005) case, it stated:

“A program would become goods provided it has the attributes thereof having regard to a) its utility; b) capable of being bought and sold; and c) capable of transmitted, transferred, delivered, stored and possessed. If a software…satisfies these attributes, the same would be goods.”

An AR/VR app can satisfy these conditions and can be considered ‘goods.’ Hence, developers cannot escape product liability, under Indian law. There are also interesting areas such as regulations against AR/VR virtual elements from being placed on private property and any violation thereof to be taken as trespassing.

There are also questions on intellectual property rights and copyright infringement. A simple example would be that of representations of a piece of art in a public place. Superimposed virtual reality elements can bring into question whether the representation shown to the user is technically an infringement of copyright or a permissible variant representation. There is a chance that these would fall under the Copyright Act of 1957’s provision for `fair dealing’, which can justify such altered representations, even if in the virtual domain (Section 52). The Supreme Court of India has ruled that a work would be regarded as a new one if it were to be based on how an existing word is presented and treated in a different way. In accordance with current laws, the virtual reality recreation of an artwork may also be permitted therefore. According to the legal authorization provided by the Copyright Act, one is allowed to engage in photography, videography, and the creation of photographs of art pieces that are permanently shown in public.

Similarly, a legitimate question surrounds the representation of branded tangible goods in altered form on the virtual plane. Does this infringe copyright and break the law? As per Section 28 of the Trademarks Act 1999, a trademark holder has the exclusive right for the usage of the trademark only ‘in relation to the goods or services in respect of which the trademark is registered.’ Given the aforementioned ambiguity of tangible ‘goods’ and a virtual, intangible element or entity, the application of the trademark is a debatable issue. Problems could also arise when avatars are made on the lines of the appearance of a real person without consent, especially a celebrity. Each individual has personality rights, not quite under codified laws but rather under fundamental rights, Trademark Act, Copyright Act, and through several judicial pronouncements. For instance, this was a point of contention in the famous Shivaji Rao Gaikwad v. Varsha Productions case where the Madras High Court passed an injunction saying that the production ‘Main Hoon Rajnikanth’ did not have the requisite authorisation for the usage of the name and persona. This existing framework can be applied to the virtual domain, when it comes to AR/VR technology.

Governmental Impetus to AR/VR Deployment

Some specialists in the field of promoting inclusivity, equity, and diversity believe that by developing holistic boot camps or simulations that allow participants to adopt the viewpoints of others, AR/VR solutions may be able to lessen occurrences of subliminal discrimination and prejudice. Certain proponents for equity and inclusion have, however, issued warnings that such initiatives may have unfavourable effects. To establish as to if, when, as well as how to deploy AR/VR technologies to combat discriminatory practices, more investigation is warranted. Research into the effectiveness of these initiatives, their prospective downsides, and the best methods for developing and putting these strategies into practise such that biases are lessened rather than perpetuated must be funded. Agency management of crucial community outreach should be accorded top priority. One of the best ways to do this is to urge policymakers to work toward implementing this study by integrating inclusion-focused AR/VR solutions into all aspects of government operations. As a result, there would be a greater market demand for inclusive AR/VR advances, which would encourage the creation and application of such methods in industries other than government.

While there are many prospects to use AR and VR in the public sector, work on capacity building within workforces, government programs, and ease of access are three directions that offer the best chances to match government goals with inclusive immersive experiences, and therefore must be facilitated. Government organisations would also be better equipped to provide public services to people or populations with restricted access owing to location or other physical impediments if they were able to overcome the constraints of physical space. While some forms of public participation can be accomplished using online content, including webpages and conventional internet-based communications systems, others may benefit substantially from degrees of in-person or physical involvement that these media cannot reach. Government agencies should look at the parts of their services that demand high levels of interpersonal interaction and assess whether interactive digital alternatives, such as augmented reality-based support, modelled evaluations, and real-time collaboration, could be beneficial. Effective AR/VR technology implementation examples include conducting remote safety checks without the need for physical travel, providing immersive skills audit without the need to travel to a physical test facility, and creating VR counterparts to in-person workplaces for services like psychotherapy, physical rehabilitation, or community pursuits. The creation and implementation of these applications may take awhile, especially as these technologies evolve further. State agencies can better plan to employ these technologies when criteria like acceptance rates, technical capabilities, and affordability are suitable for these uses by identifying possible usage of these systems while they are still in development.

By incorporating these criteria into the procurement and auditing procedures, government organisations should set fundamental requirements for affordable and equitable AR/VR. Taking this a step further, the government would collaborate with stakeholders to create standards for creating and deploying AR/VR systems that meet and surpass the minimal legal requirements for accessibility and equity. Procurements must be compliant with fundamental legal requirements and be interoperable with third-party assistive devices. It is also important to check if the experience or product is accessible via many channels, including web applications or handheld platforms. Users must be autonomous (in their representation) and have recourse to data and confidentiality safety tools in multi-user apps. There are already international initiatives on policy around AR/VR that look at these aspects. This includes The IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Extended Reality, the XR Access Initiative and the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality. The best approaches to capitalise on the highly-configurable nature of AR/VR apps should be explored through a multi-stakeholder attempt to enhance the user experience. For enterprises, organisations, and solution providers who are thinking about integrating AR/VR technologies, best practises should go beyond basic standards for access, security, and reliability. Additional regulations that expand on these multi-stakeholder initiatives should be proposed by the agencies in charge of the areas with the greatest scope for impact.

The Promise of AR/VR Technology

These technologies provide important chances to improve access to employment, healthcare, and education for many people as AR/VR adoption increases across industries and begins to become ubiquitous. However, many consumers who could gain from AR/VR may not have access to it if the government and industry ignore the variety of user demands. The risks and difficulties associated with fairness and inclusion can feel overwhelming. The initial step is to understand the problems. The ultimate objective is to proactively design and execute solutions that mitigate them. To achieve this, both industry players and policymakers should adopt a comprehensive strategy for creating an AR/VR environment that not only fixes glaring flaws but also seeks out creative solutions to problems with equality and inclusion for underprivileged populations.

Government can help open the door for more widespread adoption and has a pivotal function in this. Policymakers can guarantee that AR/VR innovation flourishes with the right set of policy directions and can thereby ensure that the possibilities of these innovations grows to satisfy the demands of a broad variety of users irrespective as to why, how and where they engage in this multidimensional future by allocating the required resources and effort early on. In this policy report, we will be focussing on broad policy directions and suggestion for a comprehensive policy-framework for AR/VR policy in India as well as more sectorial analysis, particularly in education, for efficient deployment of such technologies.

General Policy Directions for Harnessing Operative AR/VR Technology

Virtual and augmented reality provide a look into the virtually limitless ways that inventive developers could adorn and enhance the experience of the real world. In contrast to virtual reality (VR), which enables isolated artificial experiences, augmented reality (AR) juxtaposes artificial components onto one’s physical environs. Augmented reality has been referred to as “the eighth mass medium,” after the printing press, ability to record, cinematic experiences, radio technology, television, the internet, and handheld mobile technology. It has been forecasted that an exponential development in augmented and virtual reality usage, similar to that which has occurred for all of these preceding media, will be seen in the near future. Though still a possibly disruptive and relatively novel technology, early applications of virtual and augmented reality include Google Sky that offers educational acumens about astronomy and Waze, which offers real-time traffic navigation. Many apps can add transcripts for the deaf or even provide real-time descriptions of movie and television sequences for the blind. Virtual reality can aid in the recovery of paraplegics and aid in the normal walking of cerebral palsy patients. Even the expense and peril of training people to undertake risky tasks like metalworking or even surgical tasks may be reduced by virtual and augmented reality.

According to a study by the Analysis Group, the full deployment of Augmented and Virtual reality at the turn of the decade may have more than a $125 billion impact on the world economy. By 2022, according to Bank of America, the virtual reality (VR) market will be worth $150 billion and have 300 million users worldwide. In all this, as was highlighted in the introductory development of this policy-report, there are concerns regarding intermediary culpability, cyber safety and security, e-commerce, freedom of speech, and individual digital sovereignty, with issues arising from both the sensory information acquisition and the information output received by the virtual and augmented reality device or platform. In this chapter, we will be looking at the policy suggestions and directions for effectively harnessing operative AR/VR technology.

Health and Safety Regulations

Technological innovations often raise questions about health safety. Augmented and virtual reality technologies, which can prevent users from being fully cognizant of their actual environs, are no exception. A user may run a high risk of getting hurt if they walk into moving traffic, stumble over furnishings, or drive while distracted. Augmented reality will indubitably put product liability law to the test. While reference materials and video tutorials aren’t typically held accountable if they caused a user to mis-identify a venomous animal or make mistakes while repairing an automobile, AR apps that use artificial intelligence to make specific identifications may be liable upon the occurrence of resultant problems. Moreover, if information overlays in real-time situations prevent a user from recognising a threat like a precipice or a moving locomotive, the app developers and manufacturers may be held responsible for criminal negligence.

Studies on the impact of virtual reality use on vision have found evidence of short-term disruption of eye-movement control. Extreme gaze angles while wearing a Head – mounted display have been linked to a higher incidence of heterophoria. There is some data that suggests using Virtual reality headset can have a negative impact on a user’s balance and coordination. Users are now more likely to fall as a result of this. Additionally, there is a chance that engaging in activities like commuting or operating heavy machinery just after being immersed in a simulated environment could have detrimental effects. While using virtual reality, a number of physiological reactions have been noticed, including as changes in blood pressure, electrodermal activity, and sweat production. Cybersickness is an aftereffect that has been found in many users of virtual reality technology and is associated with symptoms such as nausea, headaches, and general disorientation. Some of the specific policy recommendation (PR) on this front, to mitigate the risks mentioned above, would be

PR1. The risk assessment as well as guidelines for optimal settings for the user with regards to any deployed AR/VR technology must be undertaken by industry standards and clearly indicated to the user.

PR2. Virtual Reality technology must have a built-in time-out provision and notification after 15 minutes, to mitigate cybersickness and adaptation effects.

PR3. Healthy and hazard check with the standard cool-off time during the break after a single session of AR/VR technology must be mentioned to the user, along with encouragement to undertake activities such as hand-eye coordination and oculomotor exercises during that period.

An Indian consumer has the ‘right to be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property’, as per the Consumer Protection Act 1986, and an AR/VR technology should be under the purview of the same. There are various rules and regulations for consumer product safety in India, such as the Sale of Goods Act 1930Consumer Protection Act 1986 as well as the Bureau of Indian Standards and Import Policy 2012 for ensuring consumer products safety, with mechanisms enforced by regulatory bodies such as the Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The law needs to be changed to reflect the special circumstances of this newly emerging online market and to make sure that the legal system is adequately prepared to handle the difficulties presented by novel technological innovations, such as in the realm of augmented and virtual reality. Consumers International’s endeavour to update the Model United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection to include several clauses dealing with the digital marketplace and its particular challenges as well as complexities associated with access to knowledge is one such initiative in this regard.

Since a virtual realm and the experiences thereof may involve violence, sexually explicit content, tendencies to desensitise or cause addiction, one must allay the possible negative psychological effects of augmented and virtual reality technologies. Some of these impact civil society and raise concerns around ethics, such as when certain AR/VR games have flippant gameplay in inappropriate settings such as monuments of reverence or national importance. However, we may not need any new laws for these problems per se. Existing frameworks such as tort laws of India (with a specific definition of ‘tort’ being given in The Limitations Act, 1963), product-liability law (particularly Consumer Protection Act, 2019) and product safety standards. The clauses must be expanded to include digital negligence and tort reparation due to health and security mal-effects of a particular augmented or virtual reality technology.

Regulations around Freedom of Expression

Due to allegations that it insulted the religious beliefs of many vegetarian Hindus and Jains by featuring egg-shaped Pokémon in sites of worship, Pokémon Go has been the subject of legal complaints in India. This incident highlighted the possibility for discussions about augmented reality’s relationship to free speech and online etiquette, which will inevitably include topics like bigotry, political rhetoric, intimidation, and concerns of physical harm. The regulatory and frameworks that control various forms of expression and association vary between jurisdictions. According to the Indian Constitution, everyone has the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. The Constitution does not, however, enshrine an unqualified individual right to free speech. Instead, it envisions reasonable limitations that could be imposed on this privilege by the law. As part of one’s larger freedom of expression, which is essential to the operation of a democracy, one has the right to criticise and disagree. Citizens’ other political and civic rights are at risk if they are not allowed to freely express themselves. In India, we have certain provisions against hate speech and problematic expressions, such as Sections 153A, 153B, 295A, 298 and 505 of the Indian Penal Code. A potential conflict between augmented reality and the right to document or photograph events of public interest or with government laws that forbid recording without permission also exists. Continuous use of AR devices to sense or record circumstances and locales where there is a legitimate expectation of privacy may give rise to legal issues, according to researchers. There are a few policy recommendations (PR) on this front:

PR4. Develop channels whereby the platforms and law enforcement can cooperate to detect and address questionable or hazardous content in multi-user immersive environments.

PR5. Voluntary standards and broad guidelines for detecting problematic or harmful content, addressing it, and reporting it, as well as for content regulation actions in multi-user immersive environments must be laid down by the government.

PR6. The legal framework for multi-user immersive environments must some autonomy to developers and permits content filtering to be improved iteratively and adaptively, even as user bases and use cases grow.

PR7. Every public- or private-sector entity that offers AR/VR solutions must highlight to the user their policy on freedom of expression and measures for protection against objectionable content, such as hate speech, even as they undertake ‘good-faith moderation’.

Safeguarding Privacy

The adoption of Virtual and Augmented reality will probably give rise to fresh privacy concerns over things like passive data collecting, face detection, monitoring, and direct marketing. Additionally, AR may expose private information whose usage may be restrained to avoid the possibility of discrimination. A facial recognition app, for instance, may notify businesses or service providers about a user’s specific age group, relationship status, creditworthiness, health history, or outstanding warrants. Since so many images are posted to social media websites every day and might be used for identity verification, biometrics via AR devices could also represent a serious danger to privacy. In the past, virtual reality businesses have reported gathering geolocation, kinesthetic awareness data, user head movement information, and data on whether or not a consumer was looking in a specific direction. While tracking systems and head-mounted displays with always-on cameras can record video of private rooms, Virtual reality headsets could also use live microphones to capture all interactions. Consideration must also be given to the question of whether all data transmission over the web is encrypted or not.

Section 43-A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 decrees following of ‘reasonable security practices and procedures’ in relation to the Information Technology (Reasonable security practices and procedures and sensitive personal data or information) Rules, 2011. The segment as a whole mainly focuses on the recompense for negligence in the deployment and maintenance of “appropriate security measures and procedures” in regard to “sensitive personal data or information”. The IT Act also authorizes the Indian government to track, intercept, and decrypt any data for safety purposes. One must remember that to sensitive information alone do the SPDI Rules apply and therefore, the SPDI Rules might not apply to AR/VR operators if they take care not to harvest any sensitive data (such biometric, physiological, or balance sheets). However, “physical, physiological, and mental health state” is classified as SPDI by the SPDI Rules. Therefore, it might be claimed that the SPDI Rules apply if the immersive experience technology gathers the aforementioned personal attributes. It’s conceivable that more is needed and on this end, we may need new regulations that cover both personal and sensitive personal data, in contrast to the current law, which solely governs sensitive personal data. This more expansive interpretation of the legislation might result in stricter statutory obligations for AR/VR players, who might have to adhere to the privacy guidelines even while collecting personal data like a person’s name or likeness. Under existing legislation, the compliance obligations are only relevant if SPDI is gathered.

PR8. All personal data acquired by AR/VR technology must be placed under the purview of Sensitive Personal Data or Information (SPDI) rules and any necessary actions must be taken on the basis of the collected information.

PR9. There must be compliance checks and audits of segments of an AR/VR player, even if they are in other nations, especially wherein personal data processing and profiling is undertaken.

PR10. Data localisation and storage must be prioritised, with option provided to user as to whether their data will be stored in the local terminal device with the user or the immediately proximal service-provider node, even as any alterations in storage arrangements being intimated with sufficient notice.


Users are occasionally encouraged to install spurious third-party applications as well as other add-ons that are infested with remote-access tools in several AR/VR interfaces. Vendors might also lead to vulnerabilities. According to Section 43 of the IT Act, whoever uses another deceitful or illegal methods violative of the provisions of the Section faces up to 3 years in jail and a fine of up to 5,00,000 rupees. As per Section 66C of the same Act, if anyone uses another person’s e-signature, password, or other unique identification features deceitfully or illegally, he/she faces up to 3 years in jail and a fine of up to 100,000 rupees. Immersive technologies pose prospective cybersecurity risks, such as those associated with data localization and the convergence of augmented reality with the so-called `internet of things’ (IoT), in addition to cybersecurity concerns like hacking and information leakage. Users may be permitted to engage digitally with real-world things when detecting technology associated with them is combined with augmented reality. If such `mixed reality’ applications undermine the operation of the device or expose the broader network to denial-of-service attacks, surveillance, eavesdropping, or reverse engineering, they may be more susceptible to security breaches.

PR11. VPN integration is important to maintain the sanctity of user data for AR/VR platforms and must be suggested to the user on priority.

PR12. Any public or private sector AR/VR platform or company should have a clear privacy policy that calls for deleting obtained data after an appropriate period of time.

PR13. Blockchains can be good for decentralization, transparency as well as security in sharing and using information, and must be integrated with immersive experience technologies.

PR14. Federated learning methods must be integrated with AR/VR platforms to ensure minimal risk around centralised attacks on the platform network.

Intellectual Property Rights

Copyright covers novel written, melodic, artistic, and theatrical works as well as in cinematograph films and audio recordings, according to the Indian Copyright Act of 1957. A computer programme is considered a `literary work’ and is thus protected. A computer programme constituted by source and object code is what underlies any AR/VR software, and once any such software is produced, it is covered by copyright regulations. The degree of originality required to pass for copyright protection has been extensively examined by Indian courts. Indian copyright law stipulates that a `work’ must satisfy the `skill and judgement’ criterion established in the Eastern Book Company and Ors. v. D.B. Modak and Anr case in order to be eligible for copyright protection. In this instance, the court ruled that `skill and judgement’ are needed, as well as a meaningful modification which is not merely mechanical. The AR/VR programme might be eligible for copyright protection if it satisfies this requirement.

In the instances of virtual and augmented reality, the process of creating derivate works takes several detours. It is still unclear, especially when technology is involved, whether digital alterations and overlays have the capacity to transform protected content into a derivative work. The amount of an original creation, like a poster, that was replicated within the technology arena in order to generate the effect, as well as whether the final outcome can be fixed into a concrete or digital form and distributed, will determine whether a violation has occurred in the case of a poster captured by AR software since, by itself, nothing undertaken in the virtual domain actually affects the physical origin-entity, like the poster in this case. In some cases, the simulations of AR and VR may contain images, structures, or even monuments that are protected by copyright since they were created in the actual world. The subsequent issue would be whether this use of the protected work would constitute a copyright violation. De minimis is a legal concept that generally refers to a legal infraction that is too minor to require a legal response. This theory is frequently used as justification in copyright violation cases. Based on the particular infringement test, the same would have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis in the world of Virtual and Augmented reality.

The answer to the question of whether AR/VR technology will qualify for patent protection in India may depend on the decision about how patentable is the software or computer programmes. There was a discussion about whether a computer programme with any additional elements, such as technical aspects, would be patentable after a 2002 modification to the Patents Act stated that “computer programmes per se” is not an “innovation.” While the Patents Act’s Section 3(k) maintains that computer programmes in and of themselves are not inventions, the Ordinance added an exemption for specific computer programmes. According to the Indian Trade Marks Act, 1999, the standard for determining whether a trademark has been violated is whether there is a possibility of misperception for a consumer of average intelligence and imperfect memory to believe that the use of the trademark is connected to the owner of the trademark. In accordance with trademark law, trademark owners should be permitted to use their brands in connection with the products or services for which they have registered them in the AR and VR world.

PR15. A statutory body for AR/VR Intellectual Property Rights must be constituted to undertake infringement tests for copyright violations.

PR16. Trademark owners of property or owned elements in the real world must be prioritised in awarding exclusive rights of usage and modification of their property or owned elements in the virtual world of AR/VR technologies.

Use of AR/VR Technology in Education Sector

Immersive experience using AR/VR technology has been deployed in multiple avenues in the education sector. For instance, the University of Westminster employed virtual reality to create a “virtual space for penal law students” where students would look for incriminating evidence to build a murder case. Similar to this, the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria in Portugal uses augmented reality to make math and chemistry classes more enjoyable and useful. In order to study about history and social science topics, students use a programme similar to “Google Expeditions” to take virtual tours of tornadoes, volcanoes, and other natural phenomena. It is being said that

“by 2025, two billion of the global population is going to be made up by the youngest generation: Generation Alpha, also known as iGeneration.”

In the backdrop of such development, where countries are exploring ways to incorporate the latest AR/VR technologies in their national education curriculum, India’s New Education Policy (NEP) also emphasizes the need for immersive, visual and experiential learning in the education system. Following this, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), in collaboration with the tech giant Meta, aims to train 10 lakh teachers and more than one crore students in AR/VR in the next three years. It is indeed a requisite step that could improve the quality of learning among the students in India. However, there are several areas of ambiguity and some policy difficulties that might hinder the smooth execution of the aforementioned task.

Ensuring Inclusion and Equity in Education

Inclusion and Equity should be the core values while designing AR/VR policies in education. In developing countries like India, providing digital education to all students is a real challenge. Amid covid-19, there is a massive shift in the nature of classes being held from offline to online mode, and one can witness the major digital divide being created bluntly in many states. A recent survey done by NCERT shows that at least 27% of students don’t have access to smartphones or laptops for online classes. Children coming from rural backgrounds or economically weak sections don’t have enough wherewithal to buy a smartphone, or if one has it, they can’t buy mobile data every month. There are even cases where students borrow smartphones from neighbours or relatives to take online classes. Thus, infusing AR/VR technology in classrooms come with the risk of widening the crack of the digital divide. The main obstacles for introducing new technologies are the lack of electricity, internet reliability, high data and VR equipment costs which every student can’t afford, lack of basic infrastructure and culturally appropriate content.

Hence to overcome these obstacles, numerous parallel policies must be put in place. First, the unison of state and national government could ally to build infrastructure to provide good internet facilities in all poor and underdeveloped areas of the country. An alliance with international organisations can also help build such infrastructure like in the United Nations Broadband Commission. Second, the equipment needed for AR/VR technology should be provided to all students to use within school premises. Government can also collaborate with some private companies to build VR equipment and subsidize the rate of this equipment for students from socio-economically disadvantaged families to buy for home usage. Third, considering the linguistic diversity of India, the content of digital education should be created in regional languages so that students don’t get detached from education and learning.

These are the measures that should be taken into account while implementing the policies concerning digital education in India. It is necessary to mitigate the effects of the digital divide, which is escalating even more during the spread of COVID-19. Student ability and skills can only be sharpened and improved if they are availing the appropriate conditions to use the benefit of digital education, or this policy will become the luxury of the elite and the wealthy only.

The Teacher-Parent-Student Triad: Challenges of AR/VR Technology

The inclusion of the latest technology in education can act as a double-edged sword. There are various benefits of this technology along with a few drawbacks and loopholes. Recent research done by a few scholars on the inclusion of AR/VR technology in schools in other developing countries discovered various challenges and loopholes. With the increasing use of digital education, the trio of Teacher-Parent-students confronts several problems.

A. Cut off from the real-world – The absence of authentic experience and interaction with an actual environment were the concerns raised by many science teachers. Many teachers were not convinced about teaching science using this technology as they argued there is a requirement to have an authentic experience to help students memorize. And the material used to teach students in VR are similar to cartoons. Perhaps students would like to see actual situations or they will start questioning its feasibility.

B. Addiction to Technology – Amid the escalating trend of Covid-19 Cases, the advent of AI/VR Technology is supposed to bridge the lacunae build up during the pandemic. However, this technology could serve as a double-edged sword. The continuous usage of AR/VR technology could lead students to become highly addicted to it. Students might get more interested in getting involved in this technology while leaving their real social life aside.

C. Lack of Time – VR technology usage is also being constrained by the lack of time. Teachers are concerned that they would not be able to finish the syllabus as using VR technology consumes a lot of time. 

D. The dilemma of BYOD (bring your own device) policy restriction – This is a policy in some schools that says that students should bring their own device to participate in VR classes. However, the parents oppose this policy because they cannot afford to buy VR equipment for their children. Even some teachers opposed this policy by stating that schools or teachers cannot take responsibility to take care of students’ devices and mobile phones.

E. Lack of parental support – It is also found that many parents predominantly don’t support this idea of teaching students using the latest technology. According to them, students should be taught in accordance with traditional teaching ways.

All these problems concerning the use of AR/VR technology should be taken into consideration by the policy makers of India to deal with these problems before they happen. In order to ensure that students shouldn’t get any health problems, digital education classes should be held at regular gaps in between classes. Additionally, the education ministry should devise the digital education curriculum while taking valuable feedback from teachers so that they will not face difficulties such as lack of time and continuous pressure to finish the syllabus. There is also a need to build public opinion, especially of parents, about the importance of digital education for their children.

The Financial Issue

A developing country like India could have to deal with various policy issues when it comes to backing such technology like digital education solutions in schools and probably colleges in near future. Following are some the problems:

A. The Unavailability of AR/VR technology – It wouldn’t be feasible for every school to provide the required infrastructure and facilities of AR/VR for their students. The cost to create AR/VR friendly environment in schools is quite high. There is a need for government intervention to aid schools in making the required habitat. There is a need for further research on the expected cost this new technology would require. The AR/VR technology must provide suitable materials according to the local syllabus and context, with meaningful explanations and assessments.

B. Need of Domestic Investment in Latest technologies for educating Students – In India, one can witness how minimal or almost no investment (despite few exceptions) has been made by private players in the field of Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality. These technology developments are on the cusp of ushering in a true revolution in human affairs. The control and dominance in R&D of AR/VR and artificial intelligence is crucial for any country. There is an alarming need for India to invest in such technology not only to improve its education system but also to assert dominance on the global platforms in the future. The decision of CBSE to collaborate with Meta is the decision of strategic importance for India. But Indian need more investment from domestic public and private players, which is minimal at present.

Video games in Education: Serious or Trivial

It is being showcased in movies like Ready Player One and Oblivion, that AR/VR technology can be used for real-time gaming. And it is today indeed a living reality. Many companies are providing games based on the said technology. There is a difference between ‘Serious Game’ and games designed just for fun. These Serious Games (SG), which are different from video games mainly intended for entertainment purposes, are designed mainly targeting educational purposes rather than entertainment. Educational technologies, such as serious games and mobile applications, improved learners’ academic achievements and promoted their participation in learning activities.

Educational or serious games can act as effective tools to improve teaching in the sciences. There is a possibility that the usage of the aforementioned technology might get shifted from educating children to promoting high graphics video games just as a leisure activity. Hence, the use of gaming to promote learning among the students can act a double-edged sword: it can be a game used by students for serious academic purposes or for trivial purposes.

Role of Government in Promoting Digital Education in India

Amid the rising importance of Digital education in India, the central and state government must play a significant role in promoting AR/VR technology. In order to implement the aforementioned technology in India, there is a need for the allocation of funds in four major areas – ensuring training of teachers so that they can get acquainted with the capabilities and limitations of AR/VR technology, indigenisation of immersive technology production, building of necessary environment/ infrastructure in schools for adoption of such technology and research on how to effectively integrate AR/VR technology in education.

PR17. We must establish a training program agency under the aegis of the Ministry of Education and constituted in collaboration with state governments to train teachers about the capabilities and limitations of digital education technology particularly immersive technologies. 

PR18. We must work towards indigenization of AR/VR educational technology production, keeping in mind how best to integrate it with existing curriculum and educational frameworks. 

PR19. We must explore schemes like Government Strategic Investment Funds (GSIC), which makes equity investments in companies engaged in activities of particular interest to the government, with regular testing and prototyping of new editions of educational AR/VR technology, to minimise costs. 

PR20. We must explore tax waivers and subsidies to companies working within India in the domain of digital educational immersive technology. 

PR21. We must invest and innovate in the realm of augmented books, which have moving illustrations and dynamic elements of pedagogical instruction. 

PR22. We must encourage the in-house development of Metaverse modules in different subject-areas by teachers and local policy-makers. 

PR23. We must encourage the possible integration of artificial intelligence with AR/VR education technology to facilitate an immersive technology version of adaptive learning (and possibly, differentiated curriculum) techniques. 

PR24. We must encourage students to translate thought (Gedanken) experiments to formulations apt for AR/VR realisations, thereby giving them the critical understanding of different nuances of the problem-at-hand. 

PR25. We must prioritise the learning of languages, such as Sanskrit, with the use of immersive technologies. 

Use of AR/VR Technology in Healthcare

The stakes in the healthcare sector can’t be any greater because it involves saving a person’s existence. The utilization of advanced technologies is vital to the health care system’s performance. Health care is highly receptive to the new technology due to public interest, engagement, and financing. Even at first glance, there appears to be a perfect connection between, and trove of opportunities of, AR/VR and healthcare. These innovations provide remedial measures to the health care system’s many problems, and as a result, they present a wide range of chances for their adoption in other fields, including general diagnostics and clinical training. Every nation’s system of healthcare faces a variety of difficulties. These issues stem from a variety of angles and are particularly noticeable on the ground level where it appears that demand is constantly outpacing supply. On the one hand, there are principally operational problems, such as when the patient is at a location that is challenging to access, say geographically or due to political disturbances. Then there’s the question of equipment that is hard to get to and is frequently out-of-date and not even close to as efficacious as it should be. On the other hand, many local establishments consistently struggle with a shortage of staff members. The fact of the matter is that various local healthcare facilities frequently struggle to manage heavy workloads, let alone crisis situations. The list of challenges is endless. With the use of AR/VR, many of these problems can be alleviated.

So, how may AR/VR assist the public health system in overcoming these obstacles? Firstly, it will make a substantial number of tasks easier to complete. Then follows improved accessibility of the benefit programs, and ultimately, the use of virtual and augmented reality in healthcare has the potential to significantly enhance the efficacy of medical services as a whole. The one area where the use of AR/VR in the workplace benefits patients the most is patient experience. Immersion and engagement are crucial for effective treatment, but they frequently receive the least amount of emphasis due to their comparatively minor impact on the overall outcome. Applications for augmented reality and virtual reality in healthcare can extend the patient experience to subsidiary aspects as well. As you are aware, chronic patients frequently feel uncomfortable when they are partially left by themselves during treatments. Their experience can become a little bit more stimulating and less unpleasant thanks to AR/VR. For instance, AR/VR can be utilized to improve interaction with family members. Additionally, in a sophisticated take on the “try before you buy” principle, VR physical therapy can be used to spend time in locations outside of the health centre. On the other side, augmented reality (AR) can make it easier for the patient to monitor their physiological parameters and stay informed about how their treatment is going. The immersion element also provides access to novel therapeutic approaches. For instance, a complex interactive virtual setting can be used to enhance sleeping patterns and reduce pain. Additionally, VR can be utilized to help amputees adjust to their condition and experience their amputated limbs. On the other hand, certain surroundings can be used to cure psychological disorders like addictive behavior, phobias, and various kinds of anxiety. VR medical simulations of scenarios can aid in the development of more efficient treatment plans and a better understanding of the patterns of illnesses.

Visualizing data is the simplest approach for AR to seamlessly integrate into the healthcare system. An example would be patient data that can be displayed and offered with live statistics. One of the essential components that makes it possible for efficient therapy is relevant patient data. Even upon utilizing the most cutting-edge data analytics tools, clinicians may find the volume of obtained data to be inscrutable or incomprehensible. Typically, everything is displayed on a large number of screens that surround the patient. AR can display the statistics right on the body of the patient, highlighting any problematic areas and other pertinent data. Despite how convoluted it may appear, everything can be accessed with smartphones and smart glasses. Mapping of the patient’s body is a crucial component in integrating AR/VR into the investigation stage. When the issue is intricate or the physician can’t physically conduct the checkup, a complete virtual reproduction of the patient’s physique may be helpful. In each situation, the difficulty arises from the equipment arrangement and the precision of the data streams. It appears that it will take a while before this strategy takes off given that the entire process will require the coupling and coordination of various sensing devices. A clinician can use AR to see through the patient’s body-layers and examine vasculature, organ systems, malignancies, and other structures without actually penetrating. All of this can improve diagnosis accuracy. That is always a positive development. One of the best instances of this is Microsoft’s HoloLens. With its assistance, doctors can perform a variety of tests and simulations using real-time statistics and harvest more beneficial information for later studies.

Among the most promising applications of AR is in surgeries. There are numerous ways to accomplish it. With the aid of hologram monitors, for instance, AR can make it easier to see operating techniques that are needed in diverse circumstances. It can also serve as a reference board for additional data that pops up when needed, such as care coordination details, vitals, specific points about a disorder and its therapeutic interventions, etc. In complex situations that call for more caution due to potential ramifications, it can serve as remote aid. With the use of virtual reality, surgeons can plan the procedure in advance and see potential results without having to confront them in actuality. Such “tryouts” can aid in improving the operation’s accuracy and manageability. The problem of accessibility in severe conditions can also be resolved using VR. The remote-controlled robot that will conduct the real procedure while the surgeon completes the procedure offsite can be hooked to a VR environment. Although this method is improbable to totally supplant surgeons, it can be useful in certain circumstances. AR/VR systems are being developed and deployed for tasks that aid in diagnosis as well as pre-surgical training and preparation, along with being useful for their possibility for usage in operation theatres. An AR/VR technology, for instance, is offered by the American company Immersive Touch that integrates with customary diagnostic imaging studies including CT and MRI examinations. Before performing surgery on a patient, doctors can utilize the system to outline operating strategies in an immersive virtual environment, see patient-specific anatomical and pathological nuances in three-dimensions, and rehearse on a particular medical equipment or technique. Curiously, the most common uses of AR/VR in healthcare to far have been in the fields of orthognathic and dental implantology surgical intervention. Utilizing either dynamical navigation or statistical guidance, virtual planning increased the precision of placing dental implants. Prediction planning and intra-operative navigation are the primary uses of virtual reality in orthognathic surgery. By simulating the scenario and enabling students to rehearse operations without actually touching live patients, virtual reality has also been utilized to improve instruction and training for dentistry and maxillofacial surgery. To increase hand dexterity and enhance clinical training, haptic feedback can be incorporated to give another degree of immersive reality.

Policy Challenges of AR/VR Technology in Healthcare

All of this creativity, though, comes with a problem. A challenge that results from the rising usage of AI in the medical area is how to transfer risk between the manufacturer and the user and who should be responsible in the event of a calamitous misdiagnosis or a surgical automaton that malfunctions. To address these issues, the regulatory system and the insurance sector will need to be updated, and policymakers are currently working on this. Similar issues are raised by the introduction of AR and VR in the healthcare industry. The generation, storage, and modification of the patient’s image (or images of a portion of that patient’s anatomy) may be required for immersive technology-based methods of instruction, diagnosing, and therapy.

Who will own the rights to that graphic representation and what waivers must the subject submit?

Patient records will necessarily be generated and preserved. Will it be kept in a safe place? Who will be able to use it?

What are the guidelines for a patient to provide the necessary informed consent for the production and preservation of data using such technology?

Who will be held responsible if the virtual aid tool glitches and causes more harm than good during surgery or if, as a result of a flaw in the system or abuse, the therapeutic VR environment worsens rather than improves the condition of, say, a schizophrenic patient?

These are all questions that need to be urgently addressed before the widespread deployment of AR/VR technology in healthcare.

In these situations, the provisions might not need to be reinvented as much to facilitate the new AI applications already referenced, but the risks discussed above will undoubtedly need to be mitigated through the implementation of technical checks and balances built into devices and systems, strict operational requirements, and well-drafted agreements and written consent to be signed by manufacturers, consumers, and patients – a captivating puzzle for a technology everyone once took as a medium to play games.

Policy Directions for AR/VR Technology in Healthcare

As novel alternatives for diagnosis and treatment are being developed and implemented, the AR/VR sector is integrating with the healthcare sector. These novel approaches are intriguing and have the potential to be game-changing not only because they are novel but also because, to the extent that they provide alternatives to medicating patients with prescription medications or operating on them, they may mitigate risk, increase efficiency, and shorten treatment times for patients, medical professionals, and primary caregivers. We must consider precise strategies for optimizing this integration without incurring unnecessary costs.

These are some of the specific policy suggestions and directions for this:

PR26. We must train all doctors and nurses in basic knowledge of immerse technology and virtual medical environments, recording their performance for analysis, benchmarking and correction.

PR27. We must integrate AR/VR in the internship/traineeship period for medical students so that they get a first-hand, albeit virtual, experience of surgical and other medical interventions.

PR28. We must use virtual 3D-mapping of the organs of a patient for pre-op diagnostic steps instead of the convention method of opening the patient up for the same.

PR29. We must fight phobias and facilitate rehabilitative care for autism using virtual or augmented environments in controlled settings.

PR30. We must integrate AR/VR technology in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

PR31. We must use gaming technology for improved hand-eye coordination, cognitive capacity building as well as enhancing physical dexterity post-surgery or after a stroke.

PR32. We must integrate information-dissemination modules for the awareness of every patient undergoing surgery to let them know the planned surgical intervention in as much detail as possible.

PR33. We must integrate AR/VR technologies for training athletes and to treat injuries in sports.

PR34. We must integrate AI/ML with AR/VR technology to give an adaptive environment that moderates stimulus and response to a user, particularly post-operative patients, based on their actions, capabilities and choices.

PR35. We must ensure the use of the safety parameters and guidelines created for the safety of the healthcare immersive technology applications.


Virtual and augmented reality will have a far-reaching impact on our society. Users will be able to, among other things, experience a variety of realities depending on unique preferences and needs. Additionally, it will alter how users participate and increase the capacity of enterprises to communicate with customers. These innovations provide countless potential, and they are extremely potent when used in conjunction with readily available mobile phones. Since most people have access to social media, it has significantly hampered interpersonal connections. In order to improve the human experience and restore a sense of interpersonal closeness, virtual reality can aid in the creation of new social encounters. The potential of virtual reality to comprehend the world from the perspective of other distinct individuals who see it can also lead to social transformation. In order to promote social change, Project Empathy VR seeks to encourage compassion by developing captivating VR experiences that allow users to see the world from another individual’s point of view. In the future, augmented and virtual reality technologies will converge into two types: tethered systems and standalone devices. Tethered systems will consist of a head-mounted device or wearable that is wired to a processing system. All systems, including the display and processing, will be housed into standalone units, which will also be wearable. Manufacturers are combining standalone and tethered equipment, which are the first indications of these trends. While some independent units are already on the market, their implementation is more challenging and complex. Future AR/VR technology will offer individualized, easily accessible, and beautifully designed experiences. There will soon be a platform change when these factors take effect. Given the immense potential of application of AR/VR technology in education, healthcare and other societal dimensions, we must establish policy frameworks to effectively harness the power of this novel technology and move towards a more sustainable future. 

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