UH Moment: Virtual Reality Cave Aids in Addiction Recovery

A virtual reality cave at the University of Houston is the newest technology to help study human behavior.

“We wanted to try something different where we could present life size virtual environments to people in our studies,” said Patrick Bordnick, associate dean of research for the Graduate School of Social Work.

The room is outfitted with eight infrared cameras that can track the movement of the study participant. Special glasses allow the participant to see the virtual reality world in 3D.

“It adds another degree of realism to what we do,” Bordnick said. “When they walk around the environment, it is as if they are walking around in the real world.”

By placing participants in situations that tempt them to use drugs and alcohol, professor Bordnick hopes he can teach the coping skills to help stop a relapse.

“Our hope is that, in the future when they go out into the real world, they will remember this experience.  We hope they will not use drugs and remember the skills we taught them,” Bordnick said.

See the cave in action by watching the latest UH Moment above.