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Navy turns to Kinect game to tackle rape in the military

A Kinect-based video game that addresses rape in the military is being developed for the U.S. Navy.

Organic Motion has been commissioned by the Navy to create avatar-based simulations that allow officer trainees to play out scenarios. The games task players to take the form of various characters, allowing them to perform as different gender or race.

A contract obtained by CNS News revealed that the Navy is spending $83,000 on the program, which is expected to be completed in the next three months.

Sexual assault in the military has become a high profile issue, with law-makers seeking to reduce instances of rape, by taking legal recourse out of the military's hands. The Navy and other branches of the military say they can tackle the issue internally, partly though training and educational programs.

"The system will not use pre-programed branching scenarios to determine the responses for the avatar," states the contract. "It will instead animate a human agent using a [Kinect] interface. The system shall allow a subject matter expert to determine the appropriate response to both verbal and non-verbal cues so that the student receives improved feedback regarding their actions."

Organic Motion already supplies the military with interpersonal simulations that help recruits deal with threatening situations, or with members of the public. In a video demonstration, an adult is shown playing the part of a small boy, interacting with soldiers.

The avatar program is being used to train 'Sexual Assault Prevention and Response' to Recruit Division Commanders, Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Victim Advocates at Naval Service Training Command located in Great Lakes, Ill. The Navy says it will evaluate the effectiveness of the game.

"It provides the ability to change characters (gender, race) and environments facilitating greater student engagement," added the contract. "Avatars will be uniform in their ability to convey emotion through verbal and nonverbal gestures, possessing the level of realism required to create engaging interactive learning sessions."

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