Virtual Interactive Parent (VIP) System

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Defense
Branch
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Amount:
$99,707.00
Award Year:
2009
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
W81XWH-09-C-0108
Award Id:
91370
Agency Tracking Number:
O091-H03-3019
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
625 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
115243701
Principal Investigator:
Peter Weyhrauch
Senior Scientist
(617) 491-3474
pweyhrauch@cra.com
Business Contact:
Gail Zaslow
Contract Specialist
(617) 491-3474
gzaslow@cra.com
Research Institute:
n/a
Abstract
Military deployment practices necessarily separate families, and therefore inflict significant psychological stress, particularly in young children. Readily available contact with the deployed parent could reduce stress on the child. That reduction could in turn improve the service member's resiliency by reducing family stress. Artificial intelligence and game technologies can be applied to support virtual interactions when the parent is not available, but several key challenges must be overcome to attain a workable solution. For the child, the system must be comforting, easy to use, and engaging, while avoiding any possible psychological harm. For the parent, it must provide guidance for rapidly and intuitively generating personalized content, while engendering trust in its content and security. To address these challenges, we propose to design a Virtual Interactive Parent (VIP) System for providing on-demand synthetic parent interactions to comfort left-behind family members-particularly young children-during stressful periods. VIP focuses on three components: 1) an Interaction Template Library of familiar, comforting interaction "scenes" that parents fill with personalized content; 2) a VIP Application for the child to communicate and play within these "scenes"; and 3) Secure Content Management Tools supporting parents as they personalize content and enjoy the child's interaction with that content.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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