Startup demos virtual therapy platform

InWorld Solutions has premiered the world’s first virtual behavioral therapy product, based on Forterra’s Olive virtual worlds platform, Forterra announced today.

Olive — or On-Line Interactive Virtual Environment — is a proprietary platform that competes with Linden Lab’s yet-to-be-released Nebraska server and the OpenSim open source virtual world platform.

The InWorld product was demonstrated in Toronto August 7 at an American Psychological Association (APA) conference. According to Forterra, this is the first online application featuring virtual environments designed specifically for therapy, counseling, education, training, and supervision.

InWorld couples therapy. Photo courtesy Forterra Systems.
InWorld couples therapy. Photo courtesy Forterra Systems.

“Forterra Systems’ OLIVE is the only robust virtual world platform that offers the therapy and privacy features critical to behavioral healthcare,” said InWorld Solutions CEO Walter Greenleaf, in a statement. “At last week’s APA meeting we received tremendous feedback on the use of virtual worlds for a broad spectrum of behavioral healthcare applications.”

These applications include hard-to-treat conditions like oppositional defiance disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, he said. “The Forterra team has brought the InWorld vision to life, guiding us very professionally through the prototyping and piloting phases.”

Olive has several features in common with the Second Life platform, including blinking eyes and lip movement synchronized to speech, and gestures like clapping or waving.

And, like OpenSim, the product can run in a secure, behind-the-firewall configuration. This allows compliance with federal HIPAA medical privacy regulations, the companies said.

In addition, Olive allows sessions to be recorded and played back later for review by therapists, or to later therapy sessions with the clients themselves, to allow them to assess their performance. The platform also allows the sharing of PowerPoint slides, manuals, and meeting schedules.

Maria Korolov