VR - HTC Vive Compatible/ Art Therapy

Fluid is a virtual reality clay modeling simulator to be used as part of a creative art therapy session or for the psychotherapist to work with clients in a more immersed and controlled environment.

This project is currently in development with the consultation from the University of Texas at Southwestern and the Art Station, the only licensed art therapy organization in North Texas.

Clay is a traditional material in art therapy due to it expressive and intuitive nature. Since the beginning of time, human have been experiencing with clay to create and soon found that it is not only comforting but also very nurturing.

This application takes advantage of the material and putting it into a virtual space that it has never been before. Not only that the technology can now capture the magic of creativity, but it can also reach very specific target audience which are traditionally unable to experience clay sculpting such as elderly, bed ridden patient with little to no strength or patients with specific arthritis conditions

Mechanics: Sculpt and paint a smart clay mesh in virtual reality using a set of HTC Vive controllers and HMD (Head Mounted Display). The mesh can then be exported as a three dimensional model and printed using 3d printer.

Additional features which take advantage of the sophisticated touchscreen and/or Leap Motion technology let the user use their touch and/or even observing their hands inside the virtual environment.

Development: The application is built upon several traditional techniques of art therapy including: Clay modeling - Inside the mind, Only use color that calm you - Relaxation, and Work on a softness project - Happiness. However, the application runs on a virtual reality platform which is a new technology. This decision is made in order to encourage the patient to start a conversation and use their imagination in a more private space where he/she is monitored, yet has complete control over their activities. Once the assignment is completed, the art therapist will focus on the design and how it relates to the patient’s mood, emotions, or thoughts.

Name Origin: The softness and flexibility of the material is what an art therapist called “fluid”, which means that it is not resistant to the patient’s touch. This material is native to art therapy for its nature reminds clients of their childhood and creates intimacy.

Full Research Paper presented at Boston University's Emerging Media Conference 2016 is available immediately upon request.

Works Cited:

Anderson, F. E. (1995). Catharsis and empowerment through group claywork with incest survivors. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 22(5), 413-427.

Delaney, B. (1993, Fall). VR and persons with disabilities. Medicine and Biotechnology: Cyberedge Journal Special Edition, p. 3.

Eberhart, R. (1993, June 17) Glove Talk for $100. Paper presented at the 1993 Conference on Virtual Reality and Persons with Disabilities. San Francisco, CA.

Frank, L. K. (1957). Tactile Communication. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 56, 209-255.

Hollands, R. (1995, January/February). Essential garage peripherals. Virtual Reality World. 2(1), 56-57.

Jacobson, L. (1994a). Garage Virtual Reality. Carmel, IN: Sams.

Mattes, J., & Robbins, A. (1981). Creative interventions in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The Psychoanalytic Review, 68, 386-394.

McLellan, H. (1991, Winter). Virtual environments and situated learning. Multimedia Review. 2(3), 25-37.

McLellan, H. (2001). Virtual Realities. The Handbook of Research for Educational Communications and Technology.

Montagu, A. (1971). Touching: The human significance of the skin. Oxford, England Columbia University Press.

Sholt, M., & Gavron, T. (2006). Therapeutic Qualities of Clay-work in Art Therapy and Psychotherapy: A Review. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association. 23(2), 66-72.