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Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics

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Presentation on theme: "Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics"— Presentation transcript:

1 Digital Care for the Physical Environment A UCL Project Proposal for Equator
Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics Department of Computer Science University College London

2 People Douglas Gourlay, RF Nick Dalton, RF (leaving)
Vino Vinayagamoorthy, RF+PhD student Joel Jordan, (PhD student, Nov 2001) Anna Soobrati (PhD student, January 2002) Anthony Steed, UCL Equator project lead Celine Loscos, PI Mel Slater, PI The avatars

3 “Much of what therapists engage in with their clients
is the construction of artificial environments in which people can learn to overcome their fears.” Prof. Chris Brewin Department of Psychology, UCL

4 Outline Introduction: Background Research Issues Paranoid Ideation
Agoraphobia The Way Ahead

5 1. Introduction Use of avatars in psychotherapy applications
Social phobia + paranoid ideation What is required to make these avatars believable? Will a laughing avatar make you laugh? A weeping avatar make you weep? Examples…in public speaking phobia

6 Positive Audience Audience made eye contact and other movements

7 Negative Audience Audience carried out many negative behaviours

8 Neutral Audience Audience glanced and otherwise fidgeted
No explicit positive or negative behaviour


10 Overall Results on FOPS
Evidence suggests that people do react to virtual audiences with appropriate affect Next stage is to build the method in the context of a treatment programme Two clients have already been seen (CAVE) Fundamental research question remains: Why does it work?

11 Paranoid Ideation This is the typical pattern of thinking displayed in cases of paranoia; it is characterised by suspiciousness and beliefs that one is being followed, plotted against, persecuted, etc. Objective To assess the extent to which paranoid thoughts could be triggered in a VE To help in understanding how this happens



14 Typical Debriefing Comment
“It was really weird, because they were all definitely in on something and they were all trying to make me nervous. It was clear that they were trying to mock me, they kept on looking at me and when I looked back, they were uuhh… The guy with the suit was really weird because he kept smiling at me and it was quite sinister.” “There were three people on the right – one with a suit, I think he was a business man working on his laptop…”

15 2. Research Issues Digital-physical interface
Synchronous or asynchronous Digital city remains our technical focus: Graphics and modelling issues Properties that environments and activities must have to maintain believability, presence, copresence ‘Effectiveness’

16 Effectiveness Effectiveness – for what? Psychotherapy application
Provides clear measures of effectiveness Does the VE and activities within generate the anxiety response that would have been generated in real life? Can be measured using standard psychological instruments developed over many years.

17 Levels of Research Algorithmic and interface research
Properties for effectiveness within the given domain How can these systems be used to help people in the real world, to generate treatment programs, self-help and support groups?

18 3. Agoraphobia include fears not only of open spaces but also of related aspects such as the presence of crowds and the difficulty of immediate easy escape to a safe place (usually home). Plan to initially concentrate on this Operates within the ‘digital city’ broadly defined (shops, transport, streets)

19 Issues Agoraphobia – problem with people going out
Initial systems PC based for home use Starting point – study of patients and therapists Ethnomethodology? Focus groups? Identify commonalities

20 Issues Create a parameterised environment
Individuals learn to control aspects of environment that are particularly important to them (eg, darkness, crowd density, location of exits) Relapse – panic attacks in vivo Hand-held display devices to reestablish calm and control – PDAs, digital toys?

21 A virtual experience within a village
on a flat PC screen in 3D with stereo glasses in a 3D immersive environment The user can trigger the number of people surrounding degree of interaction (egocentric/exocentric) weather lighting conditions

22 Issues Physiological feedback Self-help and mass counselling
Anxiety measured and relayed to local PDA and to central monitoring system – use of wearable devices? Self-help and mass counselling Use home-based PCs to support shared VEs where people can meet together – especially in anxiety producing environments

23 Issues Recall of something that calms the users
Pictures of environment that makes them feel safe (within a digital environment or on a hand-held display) Adapted for each individual Safe environment behind them e.g. white wall

24 Issues Using the environments as a lab to study perceptual distortions that often accompany anxiety states Work on social phobia and paranoid ideation would continue Strong crossover between the various types of application and the underlying technology needed to support them

25 4. The Way Ahead Provides a strong applications focus for our group, with the necessity for underlying research in our specialities Continued meeting with colleagues from psychology to map out a 6month – 3 year programme in the Equator context. End-goal has clear benefit to wider society.

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