Ten-year olds Jason and John Carlson stare intently at the family computer as they play an online game together. They are comparing two photos to identify the differences, but the photos are not ordinary scenes.
A service member puts on a headset with a screen for each eye. He’s given a joystick that’s built with low-frequency vibrations and sounds, mirroring the vehicle he drove while on the battlefield. As he navigates through the virtual combat world, his head movements are tracked with an orientation system. Pre-fabricated smells mimicking burning rubber and weapons firing are released into the air, and the service member ventures into virtual war.
Even as military officials continue to work on easing the stigma of seeking help for mental health issues, many service members remain loath to admit they suffer post-traumatic stress disorder or have suicidal thoughts, according to a study published recently in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
At the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), a Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) center, psychologists and technology developers work together to create innovative products that help users address psychological health and traumatic brain injury concerns. I asked T2 experts, Dr. Nancy Kao Rhiannon, research psychologist, and Roger Reeder, senior developer for mobile applications, to tell us a little bit about how their collaborative process brings new products to life.
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