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Can VR Help Treat Drug Addiction?


Now this IS interesting.  The University of Houston has what they call "The University of Houston (UH) Graduate College of Social Work's Virtual Reality Clinical Research Lab".  Quite a mouthful, but a very exciting premise.

Using top grade virtual reality equipment, this VR lab is being used as a therapeutic treatment for addictions and behavior change.  For example, alcoholics can be guided by therapists to change undesirable behaviors by having them experience virtual recreations of bars and difficult environments.  They are also developing other virtual experiences and scenarios for other types of drug addiction (e.g. heroin).

What's interesting here is that the clinic seems to be straying away from head mounted displays.  This past spring, they moved to the UH Graduate College of Social Work building, and are installing stereoscopic 3D projection on all the walls - a large scale CAVE if you will.  We're just taking an educated guess, but this was likely necessary because the HMD manufacturers are pushing a seated position, and for an environment like this to be convincing enough to be effective, the patients are probably expected to move around.

Very interesting!