Virtual Iraq – Wounded Warriors


Simulation and virtual worlds are being used for therapy in helping US armed forces personnel suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Virtual Iraq is a PC-based program developed at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies.  The soldier is exposed to the same environment in the Virtual Iraq as the previous experiences to include smells, sounds, and even vibrations.   Soldiers prefer the virtual setting to the normal therapy setting.  The soldiers are repeatedly exposed to the traumatic experiences while their physiological status is monitor.  The solider re-lives the traumatic experience in a safe environment until they no longer feel threatened. 

Most avid gamers are familiar with the virtual world.  However, as I am not a gamer, the concept of virtual reality is just becoming real to me.  The creation of avatars in a virtual worlds to soldiers using virtual technology to assist in their rehabilitation seems to be a huge leap especially as it deal s cognitive-behavior treatment.   As technology advances, these leaps seems to become more routine and smaller somehow.   We have more opportunities with our technical advancements to care for those that have fought to defend our county.  However, with the same technology, we are developing weapons that inflict harm as well.  This technology is able to help the troops that suffer from PTSD and enable them to resume a happy productive life.


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