Category Archives: Public Health

Cancer survival: Second Life Machinima

There’s not a lot to add to the great description provided by the creators:

“Between Worlds: A Journey of Hope” is a machinima produced by Panacea Luminos of NY HealthScape (USA) filmed and edited by Aliceinthenet (UK) and written by Skylar Smythe (Canada).  The inspirational piece is a story of cancer survival and accessing health information, supports and friendship in the virtual world of Second Life.   We invite you to visit: http://tinyurl.com/3esr334 to view the film and encourage your feedback and comments.

There’s four parts, which you can see below:

World of Warcraft and Microsoft Kinect: the progress continues

Here’s a great video showing the use of the Kinect to play World of Warcraft using a software framework called FAAST. After the initial demo there’s some useful discussion by the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies on its potential applications.

Those applications are something discussed here regularly: rehabilitation and physical activity. Imagine the impact of the technology shown in the video for someone who plays a dozen or more hours of an MMO each week? Let alone someone with a chronic disease or multiple lifestyle risk factors.

Anyway, have a look for yourself:

For my interest in clinical simulation, these developments are of particular interest. Truly effective simulation is likely when health practitioners are physically able to replicate tasks. With my crystal ball in hand, I can’t see that being any more than five years away.

AIDS Quilt Launch: support and expression

I’ve gone on ad nauseam about the benefits of virtual environments in regard to communal support around health issues. In the physical world, one of the most powerful support campaigns of the past 25 years is the AIDS quilt. Thanks to a joint initiative between Startled Cat and Jokaydia, that sucess story has moved into the virtual worlds of Second Life and Jokaydia’s OpenSim grid.

The premise is simple but powerful: ask those who have lost loved-ones to HIV/AIDS to commemorate those lost in a 3D version of a quilt. Like most of these things, you need to see it for yourself to get the power of it, but once you do it becomes obvious. I had a wander around the handful of quilt rooms already created and was impressed to saythe least – the overall build in Second Life is stupendous and easy to get around / navigate.

The launch of the 3D AIDS quilt occurred today and the call is now out for people to contribute.

For more information, go to either the website or check it out for yourself in Second Life.

Chicago Public Health and emergency preparedness

The Chi-Town Daily News has a good article on The
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health recruiting public health workers to participate in emergency preparedness training, in Second Life.

Why bother? Here’s why:

Emergency preparedness training usually requires closing down facilities and calling people off of work—but conducting emergency drills virtually is less disruptive and more convenient, says Colleen Monahan, the study’s principal investigator. Nearly all public health departments in the U.S. train workers for emergencies through traditional tabletop exercises and simulated real world drills.

Nothing beats the real thing but in the disaster preparation space that’s not usually an option so the virtual world route can be a very useful adjunct.