this sounds like the best video game ever

VR tool re-creates hallucinations

Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia have written software designed to allow psychiatrists to gain an understanding of the reality of patient hallucinations. "The idea is to get [medical students] to understand what it is like from the patient's point of view," said Geoffery Ericksson, the research fellow at the University of Queensland.

The prototype software runs on a university virtual reality system that includes three projectors and a 9-meters-wide by and 2.5-meters-high screen curved to provide a 150-degree field of view.

The environment is a model of a psychiatric ward. The user is able to navigate around the environment using a mouse and keyboard, and can trigger hallucinations via hotkeys or clicking. Hallucinations also automatically occur when the user gets near certain objects.

Visual hallucinations include an abyss appearing where the floor should be, random flashes of light, the user's image in a mirror getting thinner and bleeding from the eyes, and an initially comforting but increasingly abusive Virgin Mary. Abusive voices that say things like "you're worthless" and "go and kill yourself" start at random and [in] proximity to items such as stereos and televisions. These occur simultaneously, giving the effect of many different sounds and voices interjecting and occurring simultaneously, according to Jorgensen.

The researchers' next step is to increase their library of hallucinations by interviewing more patients.

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12 Responses:

  1. patrick says:

    It's like that game for gamecube Eternal Darkness, where you lose your sanity as you fight more monsters and then the game starts fucking with you.

    • Except that someone's getting research grant money for this.

      • 33mhz says:

        The original domain of flight sims was for professional training. I'm sure hundreds of alternate, domain-specific SimCity style games have been written by people studying things like urban design.

        I would be very surprised if their system isn't licensed to a game manufacturer eventually.

  2. beschizza says:

    Commoditized hallucinations.

    Patents on translucent fairies dancing in the flames of a gas range.

    Industry associations suing people for duplicating hallucinations.

    Hallucinations *want* to be free.

  3. roninspoon says:

    Seems like a waste of money to me. If the goal of the project is to "get [medical students] to understand what it is like from the patient's point of view" it would seem more straightforward and cheaper to just pass out tabs and let them drop in class. Shit, I'd sign up for that class.

    Having said that, I have a tangible desire to play this "game."

  4. gths says:

    ... and an initially comforting but increasingly abusive Virgin Mary.


  5. arib says:

    When I worked in a group home with adults with schizophrenia, as part of my training I had to listen to a casette of simulated auditory hallucinations while trying to do simple tasks.

    Interesting, really.