VR Therapy and Counselling Center in Grand Rapids, MI, USA, has won Comcast’s “Innovation 4 Entrepreneurs” contest.
As one of the 6 Grand Prize winners, the centre will receive $30,000 cash and business support services.
Here is their essay:
Our technology vision is to build a “behavioral rehearsal system,” which will allow us to help a wide range of individuals in our community. The system will use virtual reality, along with facial and full-body motion tracking, which will allow our therapists to precisely control characters within the virtual environments we create. For instance, if a teen is having difficulty in school settings, we will be able to place him or her in a virtual school setting where he or she will be able to learn more effective interpersonal skills, with our therapists taking on the roles of other children, teachers, etc. The system will use voice modulation, along with the motion tracking, in such a way that any therapist will be able to control any character within the simulation in real time, mapping all movement and communication in a way that matches the specific character being controlled. For instance, if a female teenager were having difficulties interacting with her peers, our therapists will be able to take on the role of any other teenagers in the simulation, regardless of age, sex, and physical characteristics. In the past, therapists have had to resign themselves to conducting “roleplay” sessions in their offices, but with this technology, our therapists will be able to do what was previously impossible: place individuals in the exact settings they are having difficulties with and then present them with controlled interactions that will help them overcome their challenges.
The center, owned by pshychotherapist and counselor Thomas J. Overly, is applying virtual reality to therapy for treating patients with post traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and social anxiety.
Overly says “It’s getting to the point where we can make it photo realistic..It’s a lot more dimensional than a screen. You put on the headset and you feel like you are already there.”
For more information about the center visit their website here.