University of Padova


VEPSY UPDATED Project

ERGONOMIC EVALUATION OF VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS FOR CLINICAL APPLICATION

VEPSY is a European-Union funded research project for Telemedicine and Portable Virtual Environments for Clinical Psychology. Officially started on the 1st January 2001, VEPSY-updated will involve partners from an international network of academic institutions and industrial companies.
The main goal of the project is to prove the technical and clinical viability of using portable and shared Virtual Reality systems in clinical psychology.
The project will provide both innovative VR based tools for the treatment of patients, clinical trials to verify their viability and action plans for dissemination of its results. The selected disorders are: panic disorder, social phobia and agoraphobia; obesity, bulimia and binge-eating disorders; male impotence and premature ejaculation. HTLab developed original methods for ergonoimics investigation for this special kind of environments.

OBJECTIVES

The main goal of the project is to prove the technical and clinical viability of using portable and shared Virtual Reality systems in clinical psychology. The project will provide both innovative VR based tools for the treatment of patients, clinical trials to verify their viability and action plans for dissemination of its results.The selected disorders are: panic disorder, social phobia and agoraphobia; obesity, bulimia and binge-eating disorders; male impotence and premature ejaculation.To reach this goal in 1999 different US government institutions funded the research in this area with 22 million US$ vs. less that 2 million Euros from EU institutions. In this sense the project, joining the major European players in the field aims at creating a sufficient critical mass to make the EU-based research more competitive.

VEPSY WILL REACH ITS GOALS BY:

a) designing/tuning and developing 4 VRMS clinical modules to be used with the Virtual Reality Modular System (VRMS) defined by two successful 4FP EC funded projects. The selected disorders are:
– panic disorder and agoraphobia;
– male impotence and premature ejaculation;
– obesity, bulimia and binge-eating disorders;
– social phobia.
To ensure the broadest user base, the developed modules will be available both as shared telemedicine tools available through Internet by using a plug-in for the most common browsers (Explorer and Navigator) and as portable tools based on Speed-Step notebook PCs.

This choice ensures low costs, wide availability, an open architecture and the possibility of benefiting from the improvements planned for these machine by INTEL and AMD, mainly faster processors and enhanced multimedia support.

e-Health 2005 - Information about e-Health 2005

6 May 2004 – The group Mantovani, Gamberini, Spagnolli, Cottone, working on UE ­ IST project “Vepsy Updated”, wins the “Honorable Mention” Award, as second best projects in the Home-Care and Telemedicine area.

RELATED PUBBLICATIONS

SPAGNOLLI A., GAMBERINI L., COTTONE P, MANTOVANI G. (2004) Ergonomics of Virtual Environments for Clinical Applications. In: Riva G., Botella C., Legeron P., Optale G., Cybertherapy: Internet and Virtual Reality as Assessment and Rehabilitation Tools for Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience. Amsterdam, IOS Press (Netherlands), pp. 217-230,
RIVA G., ALCANIZ M., ANOLLIl., BACHETTA M., BANOS R., BELTRAME F., BOTELLA C., GALIMBERTI C., GAMBERINI., GAGGIOLI A., MOLINARI E., MANTOVANI G., NUGUES P., OPTALE G., PERPINA C., TROIANI R., The Vepsy Updated project: virtual reality in clinical psychology Cyberpsychology and Behaviour, 4 (4), 449-455.
see also:
Cybertherapy
Internet and VR as Assessment and Rehabilitation Tools for Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience
Volume 99 Studies in Health Technology and Informatics
Edited by: G. Riva, C. Botella, P. Lègeron and G. Optale
April 2004, 292 pp., hardcover
ISBN: 1-58603-411-1

An additional honorable mention went to VEPSY, Italy- further deatils at http://www.cybertherapy.info. VEPSY – Virtual Environments and Telemedicine for Clinical Psychology project demonstrates the technical and clinical viability of using on/offline Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT) in clinical psychology and to disseminate the developed tools to the clinical community.


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