“Virtual Iraq” PTSD Therapy System (2004-2007)
In 2004, Dr. Albert “Skip” Rizzo and I began a collaboration in which we developed and deployed a virtual reality system to treat Iraq war veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. The concept of virtual reality PTSD treatment was validated in the Virtual Vietnam system which I helped develop and deploy several years earlier.
With no funding initially available, I directed members of my team at the Institute for Creative Technologies to create a demo prototype by adapting software we developed for the FlatWorld project. Using the demo prototype, we were able to successfully acquire funding to begin a dedicated development effort. Over the next few years, multiple iterations of the system were developed and deployed at clinical facilities around the country. Features were frequently added based on feedback from both veterans and clinical staff.
Our system was proven as an effective treatment for PTSD. It has become an enormously successful project, garnered extensive press attention, and it continues to positively impact lives today. The system has since been expanded to include scenarios in Afghanistan in order to also treat veterans of that conflict.
We initially documented our work in this conference paper presented at IEEE Virtual Reality 2006.
Jarrell Pair, Brian Allen, Matthieu Dautricourt, Anton Treskunov, Matt Liewer, Ken Graap, Greg Reger, “A Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy Application for Iraq War Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Virtual Reality Conference, IEEE, pp. 67-72, IEEE Virtual Reality Conference (VR 2006), 2006
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CNN’s Sanjay Gupta Discusses Virtual Iraq on Anderson Cooper 360
Footage of Humvee Scenario
Virtual Iraq PTSD Therapy Session
Virtual Iraq Article in New Yorker Magazine