Virtual world helps veterans deal with difficult real life issues

A researcher at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California has developed a virtual healing center for veterans. The “Coming Home” center can be found in Second Life, a site that people can log onto and create characters (otherwise known as “avatars”) that can be manipulated through a virtual environment.

Jacquelyn Ford Marie, a former animator for Disney, created Coming Home which she hopes veterans will visit to interact and seek assistance from stress reduction experts. The online center features a lodge with a fireplace, a game room, and a deck next to a waterfall. Visitors can also climb a tower and meet a “historical warrior” character that shares life experiences.

The project has been financed by the Army and National Science Foundation. Pilot studies on the online healing center will be conducted next year through an Army hospital.

Have you visited Coming Home on Second Life? If so, let us know what you think and please share your experience in our forum, Your Voice.