Quad Cities Child Abuse Council develops virtual reality training system | Local Crime & Courts | #childabuse | #children | #kids

Mathews said the idea for the VR training system came after a conference where he heard a speaker from the University of Illinois in Springfield talk about a new training system the university had built in partnership with DCFS, which involved a real home outfitted with cameras and hired actors. Mathews had reached out to find out more about the training and see if he could bring his staff to participate, but was told they may have to wait several years before the training was available. 

Mathews said he wanted to create a similar system on a smaller scale and he decided virtual reality was the easiest way to do so. He applied for and received a $25,000 grant from the Hubbell-Waterman Foundation, and used that money to hire Behal to design the virtual apartment.

A news release about the VR system states that Behal “helped maximize the project budget and add unexpected features, including an ‘observation deck’ from which others can view training sessions in progress.”

Behal said designing and building the apartment in VR took him about two and a half months, plus a couple extra weeks of tweaks and small changes. 

“My first month was mostly prototyping the room, coming up with the layout, creating the structure and the environment,” Behal said. “And then, I also had a list of different 3D modeling assets I needed to have finished. I spent time coming up with a list of different things that I might need for the room itself, and then also working on stuff like lighting, spacing and a lot of stuff like that.” 

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