International interview within virtual reality could be a world first

Dr Jeanette Tamplin of our Music Therapy in Virtual Environments research project appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live recently in what could be a world first for broadcasting.

The interview was conducted entirely within a virtual world created by vTime. Jeanette spoke with BBC Radio host Phil Williams about how she and her MNSI research team are using such virtual worlds to deliver therapy sessions to quadriplegics. Click on the video below for a snippet of the experience.

Of course, not all virtual environments are as daunting as sitting half way up the face of a cliff. The team regularly use more peaceful virtual scenarios such as gathering around a campfire to deliver their music therapy sessions.

The therapy sessions involve drone singing and breathing exercises that enhance respiratory function and posture. These are especially vital for people with quadriplegia where respiratory dysfunction is a major cause of illness and death.

The logistics of organising a group of people with spinal injuries to attend a group session at a hospital location can be tricky and expensive. What virtual reality allows is for people to come together without anyone leaving home. The immersive experience has also delivered some joyful side effects for its users:

"One guy who we tested it on said...'I used to love going camping, I used to love sitting around a campfire and I haven't done it since my accident, which was four years ago.' And he felt like he had that experience, just from doing this" said Jeanette.

You find the full interview and further information on the Music Therapy in Virtual Environments project page.

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Kate Murray

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