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AVESS Project Covered by American Forces Press
AVESS Project Covered by American Forces Press

AVESS Project Covered by American Forces Press

Remedy's AVESS simulation likened to Avatar, helps disabled Veterans

The United States Defense Department's official press service 'American Forces Press Service' wrote a great article about the new Remedy Communications project, AVESS (Amputee Virtual Environment Support Space) and how it will be used to help disabled and wounded American Forces veterans.

The article describes the strong parallels between Jack Sully's disabled character in the epic Avatar movie and the depth of the AVESS project in allowing disabled soldiers to control a virtual character unhindered by disabilities. The first phase of the project was a working mockup of an environment for soldiers, support personnel such as counsellors, family members and even children to hold meetings, group sessions and even just relax and play games together.

The next phase in the project is to create an environment using Second Life Enterprise, which will allow for a fully secure and private area to be created. Eventually the project may allow users to check in with professional caregivers, get information updates and even get online demonstrations of physical therapy exercises or prosthetic adjustments.

From the article:

"Comparing the concept to what moviegoers saw on the big screen in “Avatar,” Fisher said she sees tremendous therapeutic value in enabling amputees to define their avatars as they choose, and to immerse themselves in those characteristics as they interact with other avatars.

Some may elect to reveal their amputations in their avatars, assigning them prosthetic limbs to match their own. Others may choose not to, preferring to use the virtual world as a temporary escape, as depicted in the “Avatar” movie when Jake’s avatar was able not only to walk, but also to fly among the beings in the magical land of Pandora."

One of the goals of the program is to allow users to adjust to their appearance in the real world, whether they are using prosthetics or wheelchairs or any kind of assisted devices by choosing whatever they are most comfortable with in the virtual environment. Users will be able to decide if they want to reflect their disability or prosthetic or not to, and take their time adjusting.

"But for users in the latter category, Fisher said, she expects many to reveal their true characteristics as they become more comfortable communicating with other people in the virtual environment.

For some, the transformation may come as users come to accept themselves and their new appearance – something Fisher said is difficult enough in a hospital setting, where military amputees are surrounded by other people who look like them, but even more so as they try to reintegrate into their communities."

rob walker
AVESS Project Covered by American Forces Press

rob walker

Rob Walker is the Project Manager of Social and Immersive Media at Remedy. He helps produce Metanomics and spends a great deal of time in virtual worlds, where he talks about branding, social media and strategy with dragons and clockwork robots over tea.