UCF RESTORES Clinic Receives Grant to Develop New VR Software to Treat PTSD
Thanks to a $3 million grant from the Department of Defense, the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) RESTORES clinic is developing new virtual reality software designed to virtually expose veterans to the scenes and sounds of war to treat PTSD and other trauma-related disorders.
RESTORE’s VR therapy has already proven effective with a 66 percent success rate among combat veterans. And now with increased funding, the RESTORES clinic will create a wider variety of simulation experiences to treat not only veterans and active duty personnel, but also first-responders and survivors of sexual assault.
Because Orlando is the Modeling, Simulation & Training (MS&T) capital of the world, the city is at the forefront of the VR revolution and is spearheading developments across industries, from healthcare to defense. Here are a few ways Orlando is driving the future of VR forward:
Empowering Future VR Leaders – Thanks to a $3 million, 8,000-square-foot augmented reality lab, students at Full Sail University are learning how to create programs for virtual and augmented reality devices. Full Sail also introduced VR into its online classes in partnership with Orlando-based Doghead Simulations, to enhance online learning. UCF, one of the largest universities in the nation, is also fueling Orlando’s simulation talent pipeline thanks to its Institute for Simulation and Training that works closely with the city’s defense cluster and military partners.
The Next Generation of Gaming and Tech – VR and gaming has always been an area of expertise for Orlando’s growing tech sector – which includes 2,000+ companies. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) used VR to stage a major comeback with the release of its Orlando-built graphics processors used for Microsoft’s Xbox 360, as well as other Orlando platforms. Orlando game developers like EA Tiburon (one of EA Entertainment’s largest studios and the brains behind blockbusters like Madden NFL and NBA Live-games) are using VR to create the future of gaming.
Building the Future of Defense – Lockheed Martin recently opened a new innovation lab in Orlando, equipped with 3D printers, virtual and augmented reality headsets and a robotics lab. The 6,500-square-foot lab is designed to encourage experimentation among employees and attract highly-skilled tech talent. Lockheed Martin also expects that the facility will generate new patents and multimillion-dollar contracts. Other Orlando defense companies are using VR to make defense training more realistic than ever before by replicating the weight of real weapons, the sounds of battlefield and even the smell of a war zone to train American soldiers.
RESTORES is located in the psychology building on UCF’s main campus in Orlando, and it also has a recently opened Brevard PTSD Clinic located in the UCF Cocoa building on the Eastern Florida State College campus. The treatment program currently provides treatment at no cost to Florida residents. The program has been awarded more than $10 million worth of grants in the past few years.
Beidel received her Ph.D. and M.S. in psychology and M.Ed. in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Pittsburgh and her B.A. in psychology from Pennsylvania State University. She has been with UCF since 2007.