SimCoach: An intelligent virtual human system for providing healthcare information and support

Albert Rizzo, Belinda Lange, J Buckwalter, E Forbell, Julia Kim, Kenji Sagae, Josh Williams, JoAnn Difede, Barbara Rothbaum, Greg Reger, Thomas Parsons, Patrick Kenny

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)


    Over the last 15 years, a virtual revolution has taken place in the use of Virtual Reality simulation technology for clinical purposes. Shifts in the social and scientifi c landscape have now set the stage for the next major movement in Clinical Virtual Reality with the " birth " of intelligent virtual humans. Seminal research and development has appeared in the creation of highly interactive, artifi cially intelligent and natural language capable virtual human agents that can engage real human users in a credible fashion. No longer at the level of a prop to add context or minimal faux interaction in a virtual world, virtual humans can be designed to perceive and act in a 3D virtual world, engage in spoken dialogs with real users and can be capable of exhibiting human-like emotional reactions. This paper will present an overview of the SimCoach project that aims to develop virtual human support agents to serve as online guides for promoting access to psychological healthcare information and for assisting military personnel and family members in breaking down barriers to initiating care. The SimCoach experience is being designed to attract and engage military Service Members, Veterans and their signifi cant others who might not otherwise seek help with a live healthcare provider. It is expected that this experience will motivate users to take the fi rst step - to empower themselves to seek advice and information regarding their healthcare and general personal welfare and encourage them to take the next step towards seeking other, more formal resources if needed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)277-281
    Number of pages5
    JournalInternational Journal on Disability and Human Development
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


    • Barriers to care
    • Healthcare
    • SimCoach
    • Virtual humans


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