SBIR Phase I: Serious Gaming Platform for Mastering the Physician-Patient Diagnostic Interview
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
1022 Laurelwood Drive, Morgantown, WV, 26508-8900
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project aims to implement a new strategy for teaching medical students to interact with and relate to patients. Present teaching methods are labor intensive for instructors and students and limited to fixed settings. The project team will develop a serious gaming software platform that captures the human element by simulating patient responses (level of trust, topic comfort, and sense of urgency) through the use of ?intelligent, emoting avatars? (virtual patients) represented through artificial intelligence (AI) and dynamic video. The software platform replaces the passive experience of dialog tree based character interaction with the active experience of dynamic conversation. The training platform will have elements of virtual reality (interactive, immersive, and experiential) and be capable of supporting libraries of virtual patients. The innovation will enable applications to provide a new level of emotional experience for the users by achieving an emotional attachment and sense of bonding with intelligent virtual characters, capable of dynamic conversation and emotional responses based on concepts involving level of trust, topic comfort, and sense of urgency. The product will enable the student to practice and learn at their own computer on their own schedule within a ?learning environment? that is extraordinarily rich and realistic. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will change the way medical students learn in the medical school environment. Medical school teaching methods are costly, labor intensive for instructors and students and limited to fixed settings. The project team will develop a serious gaming software platform that relies on artificial intelligence and makes use of the interactive, immersive, and experiential elements of virtual reality that have made video games so successful. They will adapt these elements to serious gaming to create an instructional technology to teach medical students to interact with and relate to patients. The student will interact with a virtual patient by entering keyboard based dialog or by using speech recognition technology. The product will enable the student to practice and learn at their own computer on their own schedule. The essentially passive experience of dialog tree based character interaction is replaced with the active experience of dynamic conversation. This technology is intended to address the problems posed by present expensive medical school teaching methods which are labor intensive for instructors and students. The technology will offer advances over traditional on-line and class-room instruction materials such as video presentations, PowerPoint and flat written formats. Over the long term, this entirely scalable technology has the potential to fundamentally e ich the educational environment for medical school teaching with a correspondingly enormous commercial profitability and societal impact.
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