Artificial characters in the treatment of eating disorders
The work has been conducted within two Vinnova funded projects, aiming at developing artificial characters to be used within the treatment of eating disorders. The work has been a cooperation between SICS and AB Mando, a company that treats patients with eating disorders. The design goals that we strived towards during the development of the system were: Providing an artificial case manager able of answering questions and of interacting with the patient; Enhancing motivation to get well; Providing distraction from the disease; Providing an appealing environment that the patients find interesting enough to use for a longer period of time. The first project had an explorative approach, and the aim was to investigate user requirements and different methods for design and evaluation. We developed a prototype visualizing a 3D-environmnet with rooms like an apartment. This feature was important for the patients since they wanted to get away from environments looking like hospitals. Beside the case manager, that could answer the patients questions, one character for motivation and one character for distraction were included in the environment. In the second project the aim was to develop a product that could be marketed together with other equipment that was used within the treatment. In this project the largest focus was placed on developing a well working dialogue system that could answer the patients questions.