The capacity of the human brain to learn and adapt is astonishing. Studies have shown that our brains are able to learn new skills and recover from damage through a process called neuroplasticity (Mahncke et al 2006; Green and Bavelier, 2008). Brain training programs attempt to tap into this phenomenon and improve different aspects of cognitive function. However, a major hurdle faced by many programs is that most improvements tend to be specific to the task (i.e., the training program) and do not transfer to general cognitive abilities which are important in our daily lives. (Owen et al., 2010, Green and Bavelier, 2008).
Virtual reality and brain training
Virtual reality technologies (VR) offer a unique platform to create the next generation of cognitive training programs (Bailenson et al., 2008). Unlike tradition training programs which use 2D computer screens, VR technologies allows the users to utilize an immersive 3D environment to train key cognitive skills.
Visual perceptual-cognitive training
The ability to perceive, integrate and respond to visual information plays an important role in the performance of many skills including athletic performance (Poulter et al., 2015; Williams & Ward 2003). Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of sport-specific training for enhancing perceptual anticipation (Abernethy et al 1999; Farrows et al., 1998)
In 2016, there will be an expansion of VR-based training programs on the market. Although each will offer the benefit of immersive 3D environments, most will miss key features which maximize user benefits. I.on is a virtual reality based visual perceptual-cognitive training program which uses real world complex movement patterns (such as those experienced in team sports) and places them in a dynamic 3D environment. It is based on 3D Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) model designed by Pylyshyn and colleagues. I.on technology will also utilize machine learning to manipulate task difficulty in small increments thereby maximizing each user’s learning and benefits (Sireteanu R & Rettenbach R., 1995; Sireteanu R & Rettenbach R., 2000; Green and Bavelier, 2008).