benjamin-lokOn today’s episode, I talk with Dr. Benjamin Lok from the University of Florida about how they’re using Virtual Humans as patients to train medical students. He talks about the key components for creating a plausible training scenario which include both accurate medical symptom information, but also more importantly a robust personality and specific worldview. Humans hardly ever just transmit factual data, and so whether the patient says too much or not enough, the students have to be able to navigate a wide range of personalities in order to get the required information to help diagnose and treat the patient.

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Virtual humans help to embody symptoms that a human actor can’t display, assist in going through an extended interactive question and answer path, or they’re used within collaborative training scenarios where it becomes difficult to get all of the required expert collaborators into the same location at the same time.

Dr. Lok makes the point that creating virtual humans requires a vast amount of knowledge about the human condition and that it’s really a huge cross disciplinary effort, but one that is one of the most important fields of study since it has so much to teach us about what it means to be human.


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  • Get Schwifty!

    Most of the people I meet in the medical profession seem to have virtual personalities already, this might be self-reinforcing ;)

    • Wednaud Ronelus

      LOL. I see your point.

  • brad walter

    Doctors have been ignoring patients for 100s of years, how about we build virtual doctors with personalities first?

  • Nein

    Did you write about this article because it had the keyword “virtual”? Because virtual reality doesn’t really have a place in the medical field. Doctors aren’t going to be wearing HMDs when doing coronary bypasses. If anything Augmented Reality would fit better here.