Monthly Archives: November 2014

Virtual Reality Sheds Light on Learning with Autism (video) Dr. Peter Mundy


“UC Davis is using virtual reality to learn how autistic adolescents manage to think, talk and interact at the same time. They hope the study will help the estimated 740,000 autistic kids in public schools get more from the classroom.

Dr. Peter Mundy is Director of Educational Research at UC Davis’ MIND Institute. He says there’s not a wide body of knowledge about how to teach kids with autism, who pay attention to different things than other people do.

“We really have to know how those children are developing, what impedes and what facilitates their development in school,” says Mundy. He says there’s a need to “provide information that advances the ability of teachers and schools to provide the right education for [autistic] children.”

By Pauline Bartolone at Capital Public Radio

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Virtual reality exposure therapy to help veterans with PTSD (video) Prof. Deborah Beidel


“Exposure therapy is one of the few therapies that have been found to be effective in treatment of PTSD. The goal is to expose patients to events that are stressful and traumatic for them over and over until the effects are reduced.

University of Central Florida researchers use a virtual reality software that portrays scenes from Iraq and Afghanistan. They try to get those scenes as close to the patient’s description as possible. To further stimulate the senses, they add in the smells that the patients remember from the event, whether it’s burnt rubber, a middle-eastern spice or body odor.

The patients wear a virtual reality head mount and navigate the scene that they are describing.”

By Naseem S. Miller at Orlando Sentinel

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Virtual reality to possibly cure cravings, KPRC News (Video) – Prof. Patrick Bordnick


“The University of Houston is working on some impressive new research. It’s using virtual reality to help drug and food addicts kick the habit.

Imagine a world where all of your bad cravings and impulses can disappear.

A professor at the University of Houston has created a virtual reality where drug and food addicts can determine what triggers their cravings in order to overcome them.

UH Professor Patrick Bordnick, Graduate College of Social Work associate dean for research and director of the Virtual Reality Clinical Research Lab, said sitting in a therapist’s office is not the way to tackle addiction. Therefore, he created virtual realities where patients can put on goggles and walk inside of a mock drug house, a restaurant buffet, or coming soon, a war zone for PTSD patients.”

By Haley Hernandez for KPRC News

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How virtual reality can help treat sex offenders


“The quality of virtual reality systems – immersive, computer-generated worlds – has advanced dramatically in recent years, as can be seen by the expansive editorial from journalists testing Oculus Rift headsets.

University of Montreal researcher Massil Benbouriche has used this realism to help understand the impulses of sex offenders in order to find better ways of treating them. Key to using virtual reality as therapy is the degree to which an individual identifies with the world. Benbouriche uses a virtual reality headset and various audio-visual stimuli within a “cave”, or a cube of screens, to provide an immersive experience to the participant.

Virtual reality has been used in psychology as a treatment option for many behavioural disorders for more than a decade. Virtual reality therapy, together with psycho-therapeutic approaches such as cognitive behavioural therapy, has been used to treat disorders among the general population, as well as criminal behaviour.”

By Bobbie Ticknor, Assistant Professor in Criminal Justice at Valdosta State University writing for The Conversation

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Healthcare is now in our hands with advances in virtual reality


“I can set off a vehicle-born IED”. Dr Skip Rizzo, clinical psychologist at the University of Southern California, pushes a button on his keyboard to detonate a virtual car bomb in a computerised simulation of an Afghan market.

Wearing the much talked about “Oculus” headset, his accomplice Gary Marcus looks to his right to see a military jeep in flames, heeding two digital casualties thrown from the blast. Rizzo is demonstrating “Bravemind”, a virtual reality-based exposure therapy designed for returning soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

With a consumer version of Oculus on the horizon, it’s not difficult to envision the application of virtual reality based therapies being utilised in clinics around the globe.

It seems, therefore, that internet-based technology will continue to do for patients what it has already done for consumers in other fields: address the information imbalance between expert and customer, thus empowering patients to make educated decisions and take control of their own health care.

In the words of Dr. Rizzo, “the technology has finally caught up with the vision” – your future health will be quite literally in your own hands.”

By Conor Toale, Contributing Writer at University Times

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