Miss Farah

Could the Avatar Concept be our Future Therapy?

Posted on: February 4, 2010


CNN) — Now the highest-grossing film ever, “Avatar,” has captivated millions of viewers with its picturesque scenery, extraterrestrial battles, and nature-loving, blue-skinned aliens.

Not only does the human manipulate the avatar’s movements and speech, but he or she also experiences life — every sensation, feeling and emotion — through the eyes of the hybrid, as if consciousness were transferred.

This kind of technology is useful for people who are paralyzed and cannot communicate, Schalk said. His research group also works on using electrodes to extract specific information from the brain such as people’s actual actions, imagined actions and intended actions — even how they move individual fingers.

Litt’s group studies the brain’s networks involved in epilepsy. The researchers are looking at the abnormal circuits to figure out the basic units of the brain that generate seizures. They have licensed intellectual property for a device that can improve epilepsy by stimulating specific brain regions, potentially eliminating the need for surgery.

Future therapy to autistic children???

Apart from the entertainment value, Pineda sees this as a future therapy for autistic children. The theory is that because people with autism have less conductivity between various parts of the brain, participating in mind-controlled video games may normalize those circuits. Results from his lab show improvement in social interaction and other behaviors after 10 or 20 weeks of playing the game in the lab.

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