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PRESS RELEASE
13 October 2003

Government Funded Online System May Offer Help For Teenage Depression

Dermot Ahern Announces €1.27m Funding For Online Innovation

Teenagers suffering from depression may be helped by a new online tool being developed under a Government-funded

"Personal Investigator" is a new 3D online development that invites users, particularly adolescents, to hunt for clues to solve personal problems in their lives. It is currently at prototype stage.

The tool is just one of a series of new applications being developed through Government funding at Media Lab Europe in Dublin's inner city. Dermot Ahern, TD, Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, today announced funding of €1.27 million for the series of research projects being undertaken by Irish higher education institutions in association with Media Lab Europe.

The funding has been awarded under a Higher Education Authority (HEA) scheme established in 2000 to promote collaboration between Irish third level institutions and Media Lab Europe, the European research partner of MIT Media Lab.

"Personal Investigator" uses the latest online technology and offers those with depression to become a virtual detective by asking them key questions regarding problems and potential solutions. The system is expected to be the first to integrate an established psychotherapeutic approach into a novel and engaging online 3D game. Researchers from Trinity College Dublin in association with Media Lab Europe have created it.

Among the recipients of other Government funding are:

  • A game which allows children with disabilities in the National Rehabilitation Hospital to draw and create landscapes online
  • A system which provides for monitoring and measurement of behavioural attention

    Minister Ahern said: "There is great work being undertaken at MLE. Online help is being developed in an innovative and creative way for adolescents suffering from depression to children with serious physical and learning disabilities. In just three years the HEA has successfully promoted and fostered collaboration between academic institutions and Media Lab Europe. The scheme is now firmly established as a cornerstone of Irish innovation and I am confident that the 2003 recipients will further demonstrate that strong collaborations between Irish academic institutions and Media Lab Europe brings benefits to all."

    Dr Simon Jones, director Media Lab Europe, commented: "Combining the multi-disciplinary research model of Media Lab Europe with the world-class research expertise of Irish third level institutions is leading the world in delivering new research concepts, new applications and new academic connections."

    Ends

    About Media Lab Europe
    Media Lab Europe is an international research and innovation Lab. It is also the European research partner of the world renowned MIT Media Lab. Its interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to innovation provides a unique environment for exploring advanced research that facilitates the development of technologies that expand human potential right across society. Media Lab Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that supports its work through corporate, community, academic and public research partnerships.

    www.medialabeurope.org

    Visit the Media Lab Europe press area.

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