Edward Haynes, Jacki Morie, Eric Chance: “Jogging in a Virtual World Using Breath as Avatar”

June 14, 2010 | Seoul, South Korea

Speaker: Edward Haynes, Jacki Morie, Eric Chance
Host: Cybertherapy 2010

Recent research in the fields of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and virtual technologies suggest some potentially new and beneficial therapies that may help returning servicemen who present symptoms of psychological stress. CAM therapies are now being validated with evidence-based research. Data from the emerging field of Self-Perception Theory shows that use of avatars in virtual worlds can affect a user’s psychology and behavior. These findings and discussions with psychologists who use Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (a validated CAM therapy), and advice from experts in military social work, has led us to develop a virtual jogging system in the online virtual world of Second Life. Our system is novel in that we use breathing to control the movement of the avatar rather than keyboard controls. There is no spirometer but breath detection is instead done with a microphone by using the seldom-used volume level detection technology available in Second Life that is interpreted through a custom scripting solution.