T-SQL Tuesday #134: Stopping to Breathe Again and Talking Avatars

The first post of 2021 for T-SQL Tuesday is being hosted by James McGillivray and his updated post on the subject of taking a break can be found here. Thanks James!

Sadly one of the members of the #SQLFamily has passed away due to complications from COVID-19, Gareth Swanepoel, and the organization once known as PASS will be no more on 15Jan21.

I maintain #SQLMemorial and you can watch the latest tribute video to the fallen here.

Week 1: A Fresh Start

I’ve written Part 1 and Part 2 about getting into MBSR so this is more of a re-start than a Part 3 post. When the pandemic really kicked into high gear mid-March 2020, I just didn’t stick with the commitment of 40-45 minutes each day for eight weeks. A few weeks into it and I spent my time getting outside to go for walks and taking power naps instead.

2021 is a new year with new goals so I’m stopping to breathe again. Secret? Put it on your calendar throughout the day and make time. All of the PDF(s) and audio files for the MBSR course I’m going through can be found here.

The Good, The Bad, and The Super Scary (Or Not)

I have about 100 pages left of a book I’m reading, VRx: How Virtual Therapeutics Will Revolutionize Medicine by Dr. Brennan Spiegel.

It is a fascinating book and I’m really enjoying it. In one of the chapters, he lays out a exploration into the treatment of augmenting an existing therapy using VR for people with schizophrenia which grabbed my attention.

Back in March 2019, I wrote a little about digital avatars and the incredible progress in creating live-like avatars but using something other than a human. T-SQL Tuesday #112 “A New Cookie Jar”.

Now this technology is becoming more accessible. Take a look at the beta version of Audio2Face video created as part of NVIDIA’s Omniverse suite of software. Please note that it is only using an audio file- no programming by the end user was required.

Back to VRx. Imagine someone being bullied by their inner demon, a satanic figure with two ram-like horns, blood-red skin, massive bat wings, and talking to you a short distance from your face. “You are no good. You are a bad father, You are a bad husband. You are worthless!” Chiding, insulting, distracting, incessantly.

Disturbing visual and audio to say the least. But that is what a psychiatrist has been able to do- create an avatar as close to his patient’s hallucination but using the psychiatrist’s voice. And over the course of treatments, the audio becomes, “You’re not as bad as I thought. I underestimated you.”

So, let’s look at the flip side for positive mental health applications. Imagine someone or something saying positive, uplifting and affirming quotes and sayings. How would that make you feel? Better than trying to talk to oneself in a mirror I suppose.

While positive psychology entails more than just technologies, it could be interesting times ahead for positive avatars helping and encouraging people.

One More Thing

I know several folks who are in the #SQLFamily and are into video games, myself included. Epic Games releases a FREE game every week from their on-line store.

On 14Jan21 for all of you Star Wars fans, Star Wars: Battlefront 2: Celebration Edition will be released and free for a week. Once you claim it, it is yours. I have over 120 games I have downloaded from the store over the past two years- all for free.

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