Deseret News Features ICT Technologies for Health Treatment and Assement

Published: July 2, 2014
Category: News

An article examining the role of technology in revolutionizing treatment featured ICT’s Bravemind, SimSensei and Games for Rehab projects. The article includes Skip Rizzo, ICT’s director of medical virtual reality, and calls ICT’s Bravemind virtual reality exposure therapy treatment an example of how some innovators are taking video game technology and using it in new ways — in this case, to help veterans make sense of traumatic experiences. The story also notes that future scenarios will address sexual trauma.
“The goal is to help a person confront the things that are hard for them,” said Rizzo.
The article described an interaction with Ellie, a virtual character who is part of SimSensei, which can detect, analyze and infer information about nonverbal behaviors people relay in conversation.
ICT’s Stephan Scherer said he hopes SimSensei will one day hasten access to care with kiosks at places like VA hospitals or any place where people can get help when suicidal or homicidal thoughts occur. Early trials also suggest that people have no problem opening up to a computer like Ellie.
“People came in and were able to talk to Ellie in such a natural way, and it surprised us that Ellie was able to hold a conversation like that,” Scherer said. “Everybody loved her and could see the immediate benefit of just talking to her.”
ICT’s Games for Rehab, a program that uses Kinect technology to create individual, accurate physical and cognitive therapy, was also featured. Using different games, patients can achieve their physical therapy goals with Kinect technology that is calibrated to their individual bodies and abilities — a step up from traditional instructions, says project manager Kevin Feeley.
“Typically, physical therapy patients are given a piece of paper that says something like, lift these soup cans. That’s kind of like the dentist and flossing. And if you do it wrong, you won’t know until you go back,” Feeley said. “This is more fun and it verifies that it’s being done.”