Earlier this week, we talked about how a group called Virtual Ability is using virtual reality to help people overcome disabilities. Above is a video for another project this organization is working on is called AVESS (amputee virtual environment support space):
Virtual Ability, Inc. and ADL Company proudly announce the initiation of the AVESS (Amputee Virtual Environment Support Space) Project. AVESS is funded by the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC).* The purpose of this project is to establish best practices and protocols for the provision of on-line peer-to-peer support services for military amputees and their families. The first phase of this project created demonstration environments in Second Life®. Phase Two will be the creation of a four-sim supportive environment in SL.
Virtual worlds can provide military amputees with an opportunity to enhance their overall quality of life, expedite their reintegration into society, and improve their physical and mental wellness. While the rehabilitation goal is for the soldier to return to active duty, many return to their civilian communities. Spouses and family members of military amputees often become their caregivers after they are released from military hospitals and rehabilitation programs.
Peer support groups help recent amputees gain the experience and confidence and practice the skills necessary to proceed with their rehabilitation. Support groups can also assist family members and spouses with their caregiving issues and concerns. A virtual world environment may facilitate ongoing care and support, especially for amputees who live far from rehabilitation facilities.
* This work is supported by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command under Contract "W81XWH-09- P-0731." The views, opinions and/or findings expressed above are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy or decision unless so designated by other documentation.
Of course, ne of the major issues faced by many combat veterans, whether they have been physically injured or not is PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Second Life hosts another project, sponsored and managed by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, called the "T2 Virtual PTSD Experience":
he T2 Virtual PTSD Experience, based in Second Life, is an immersive, interactive learning experience designed to educate visitors about combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It includes a simulation demonstrating how PTSD may be acquired during a combat-related traumatic event, including an explanation of the connections between danger cues and triggers, the role of avoidance in the development of PTSD, and how PTSD is a normal human response to traumatic events. Additionally, this environment includes simulations of PTSD symptoms, helping the visitor learn through interactive activities how PTSD symptoms may show up in a person's life. Finally, the environment includes information to help visitors determine whether they or a loved one is in need of care, and how to access that care whether a DoD or VA beneficiary.
This virtual experience does require some basic "gaming" experience, so anyone who is new to the concept of virtual reality should start with the links provided in Part One of this series. Here's a video to learn more: