Adaptive Virtual Reality And Its Application In Autism Therapy


Virtual reality (VR) technology advances are enabling technolgy-assisted intervention in developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It has been shown that technology-assisted virtual reality based therapy has the potential to alleviate several challenges of traditional intervention. This chapter reviews virtual reality work performed in the Vanderbilt Robotics and Autonomous Systems Lab (RASL) over a period of time specifically as applied to autism intervention. The initial work utilized simplified virtual environments for social skill training with limited adaptability. Over time, dynamic eye gaze tracking and physiological affect recognition have been introduced to increase interactivity resulting in adaptive gaze-sensitive and affectsensitive virtual reality systems. Current work focuses on adding additional modalities of speech interface, possibly electroencephalography (EEG) feedback as well as ways of fusing these multimodal sources of feedback together to produce combined adaptability as opposed to separate individual modality-sensitive systems. The virtual reality-based systems are focused on skills training on core social deficits of children with autism ranging from social communication, facial emotional expression understanding, and social interaction. The chapter highlights earlier assistive VR work, current systems and future directions.


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