Medical applications; medical visualisation; special needs; VR and the disabled

In a Washington Post article of 6th October 2007, Rob Stein writes of

examples of an increasing number of sick, disabled and troubled people who say virtual worlds are helping them fight their diseases, live with their disabilities and sometimes even begin to recover. Researchers say they are only starting to appreciate the impact of this phenomenon.

“We’re at a major technical and social transition with this technology. It has very recently started to become a very big deal, and we haven’t by any means digested what the implications are,” said William Sims Bainbridge, a social scientist at the National Science Foundation.

In addition to helping individual patients, virtual worlds are being used for a host of other health-related purposes. Medical schools are using them to train doctors. Health departments are using them to test first responders. Researchers are using them to gain insights into how epidemics spread. Health groups are using them to educate the public and raise money. …

Medical schools and health departments have also started using virtual worlds. A University of California psychiatrist developed a virtual psych ward echoing with disembodied voices to help caregivers better understand schizophrenia. Stanford University doctors built virtual operating and emergency rooms to train young doctors. Britain’s National Health Service constructed an entire virtual hospital.

Rob Stein, ‘Real Hope in a Virtual World‘, Washington Post, 6th October 2007

Neon Kelly, ‘Virtual hospital opens doors‘, Computing, 6th September 2007


Moline, J. (1999) Virtual Reality for Health Care: a survey

Virtual Reality and Persons with Disabilities (Talks from a conference at California State University.)

Medical and surgical


[Blog] Second Health: the future of healthcare information
“Working in conjunction with the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Imperial College London (ICL) has created a virtual hospital in the 3D virtual world of Second Life and a series of ‘machinima’ documentary films that describe what healthcare of the future could look like. This is an experimental, innovative and efficient means of communicating complex healthcare messages as well as illustrating what healthcare of the future could look like. The design of the virtual hospital in Second Health is based on the principles and recommendations outlined in the recently published Healthcare for London: A Framework for Action.”

Watch the other Second Health movies here.

Visualization Of Visible Human (VRML)
[Link verified and viewed 11 April 2005]

The Virtual Reality Brain Project at SUNY (Panoramic VR)
[Link verified and viewed 09 Feb 2005]

The Human Brain Project, Technical University of Denmark (VRML)
[Link updated and viewed, 09 Feb 2005]

The Virtual Reality Brain Project

The Virtual Hand (This is one of a number of projects from the University of Sheffield Virtual Reality in Medicine and Biology Group.)
[Link verified and viewed 11 Feb 2005]

Web-Based Surgical Simulators and Medical Education Tools (VRML)

Amira: medical and anatomical visualisation
[The first link, above, was inaccessible when I tried it; the second link verified and viewed 8 Feb 2006]

Medical Virtual Reality Demonstrator for Multimedia Education


3D Healing Experiences(TM) used in the Experiential Cognitive Therapy(TM) for Panic disorders: Immersive Virtual Reality Graded Exposure Therapy – VRGET
[Links verified and viewed 11 Feb 2007]

Virtual Reality in Psychiatry
—developing a VR environment to simulate an actual exposure environment for treatment of acrophobia

Virtual Vietnam: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Environment

VR for the Disabled

Cerebral palsy

Asperger’s Syndrome


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