Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Virtual World will Aid US Veterans in Their Homecomings

Another piece today on the American Forces Press Service caught my eye, on a project to use the popular website Second Life to assist US veterans in coming home. The comment about how this project may be a 21st century answer to Veterans of Foreign Wars certainly seems to capture the zeitgeist of the age. It would be interesting to know how much of the concept here goes beyond social networking to actual therapeutic activities. MP+

Scientists Use Virtual World to Support Troops
By Ian Graham
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2009 – Scientists are using virtual online worlds to improve the flow of information and support to servicemembers returning from deployments.

Jacquelyn Morie of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies discussed the “Transitional Online Post-deployment Soldier Support in Virtual Worlds” project during a July 29 webcast of “Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military” on Pentagon Web radio.

Also known as “Coming Home,” the project will create a space within Second Life -- a 3-D online virtual community -- dedicated to providing camaraderie, support and resources for returning soldiers trying to reintegrate into civilian life.

“Second Life is unique because it allows users to build things and own the things they build,” Morie said. “It has a huge range; whatever people can imagine and dream, they can build there. You’re represented by a 3-D avatar, so you can represent yourself however you feel is appropriate for who you are.”

The project incorporates immersive games, virtual world expertise and virtual human intelligence. Coming Home will be populated with artificial, intelligence-driven virtual characters that can aid veterans in finding support and therapies.

“You can think of it as the VFW hall of the 21st century,” Morie explained. “Most veterans, when they come back, are not collocated into neighborhoods the way people were in World War II. So this gives people a chance to be together, even if they’re widely dispersed.”

Read the whole article.

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Mad Padre

Mad Padre
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