VERVE | FP7 Project

Social exclusion has many causes, but major factors are the fear and apathy that often accompany a disability. Fear and apathy may prevent an individual from successfully completing a programme of treatment prescribed for them by their physician, psychologist or other health professional, creating a vicious circle. Reduced social inclusion has known effects on cognition and well-being due to the concomitant lack of mental and physical stimulation.

In VERVE we have developed a number of intervention solutions based on cutting edge research in computer graphics, virtual reality (VR), and human and crowd simulation. The new ICT tools and algorithms developed within VERVE allow a personalised and populated realistic virtual environment to be rapidly created by medical or laboratory personnel. The VR scenarios and serious games prototyped in the project are designed to run on multiple hardware platforms and be available over the network. The VERVE solutions are designed to support compliance with a therapeutic program, boost confidence and improve performance, while simultaneously enabling the on-going monitoring and assessment of participants.

User Needs: VERVE addresses the needs of people who are at risk of social exclusion, either because of fear and apathy associated with ageing, or because of a neurological disorder. This includes, amongst others, older persons with a history of falling, patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and those suffering from phobias. These are classified into the categories Fear, Apathy and Anxieties.

Scenarios: The clinical/scientific partners in VERVE have defined a series of scenarios to help meet the user needs. These have emerged from focus groups, literature review and pilot studies conducted in the VERVE programme. Each of the scenarios has resulted in a tangible game, virtual environment or interactive web application that will be used by carers, patients and participants.

Science and Technology: The VERVE partners include experts in a range of new and emerging approaches and technologies that can be used to implement the VERVE scenarios that address the User Needs. The partners conduct research in these areas and also build tangible artefacts using advanced science and technology components.

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