“I got involved in crypto shortly after the market fell,” Bell explained. “As a first investor in NFTs, I realized the potential, but there was also no easy way to show this digital artwork. I knew there was a better way.”
Bell launched its own NFT marketplace in 2021, intending to create virtual spaces where NFTs could be truly enjoyed. He contacted a childhood friend, Andrew Bjarnsen, to help him develop the NFT galleries.
Bjarnsen graduated from Laguna College of Art and Design with a Masters of Fine Arts in Art of Game Design. His University of Southern California team had developed an “electrifying VR rhythm game” called Super Nova , which was shortlisted as a finalist for the 2018 IEEE GameSIG Showcase in 2018, according to LCAD. This game laid the foundation for Bjarnsen’s game studio.
“We started talking about his video game projects and my NFT market, and we decided to combine the two,” Bell said.
Bell and Bjarnsen founded 2B3D Inc. to develop an NFT-filled VR metaverse using their combined expertise in marketing, cryptocurrency, and game design. But why stop there? They also wanted to make a difference in the real world, and for good reason.
Bjarnsen had recently returned from a U.S. Army deployment to Afghanistan , serving as combat medic.
“I quickly recognized that something had changed in my friend,” Bell said.
Like many returning veterans Afghanistan at the time, Bjarnsen was struggling to recover from a traumatic event. The condition, known as post-traumatic stress disorder, can last for months or years, with triggers that bring back memories of the trauma accompanied by intense emotional and physical reactions. Other symptoms include nightmares, unwanted memories of the trauma, avoidance of situations that bring back memories, heightened reactions, anxiety or depression.
Veterans who have seen combat or who feel isolated are the most vulnerable to thoughts of suicide. Twenty to 30 percent of veterans who kill themselves have also tested positive for PTSD. Many more go undiagnosed.
Bell immediately thought of his friend.
“Honestly, my ‘ aha “That’s when I looked at the 580 veteran suicides last year,” Bell said. “When I wrote down that number and really did that math, that’s when something changed in me. I didn’t want to do something that was just fun or cool anymore, but something something that could help heal and save lives. I knew it had to be done as quickly as possible. ”
2B3D’s flagship project is a gamified VR mental health solution called VRx, for veterans with PTSD.
VR therapy, or the use of VR technology for psychological or therapeutic rehabilitation, is based on more than 25 years of scientific research. The Office of Naval Research believes VR therapy, with its playful qualities, may resonate with the current generation of fighters. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, video games can help veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder.
In an open clinical trial of VR therapy by the Office of Naval Research, veterans with PTSD experienced a 56 to 90 percent drop in stress response measures. Another 46% of veterans no longer tested positive for PTSD after receiving VR treatment.
“I get phone calls from strangers who are desperately looking for this solution,” Bell explained. “Once I realized that every day that draws closer to our goal has the potential to save hundreds of lives, I stopped sleeping so much. I knew we had to get there.”
With VRx preloaded on VR headsets, veterans with PTSD could step into calming virtual environments embedded in neurocognitive mini-games designed with data points using research supported by neuroscientists and neuropsychologists.
Additionally, 2B3D partnered with the veteran-owned and operated nonprofit Forge Forward Project to conduct a peer-reviewed study on VRx using the world’s most advanced imaging and testing protocols. With six different cognitive tests performed inside MRI machines, neuroscientists can measure the effects of their virtual reality games on neurovascular coupling, which is the link between neurons and blood flow in the brain. By processing over 7,000 images of the brain in near real time and comparing them to a healthy control database, Project Forge Forward aims to show how, exactly, VRx’s neurocognitive mini-games kick-start the healing process in the brain.
To learn more about 2B3D’s nonprofit partners, visit www.ForgeForwardProject.org
Veterans will also be able to use VRx for socialization, community building, and connection with crisis response managers or mental health therapists in a secure virtual space from anywhere in the world.
2B3D is the first tech company of its kind to use virtual reality technology to deliver peace and healing to veterans for free. VRx is currently under development, with alpha testing starting in early 2022. They are currently seeking major investors and partners in this effort.
Visit their GoFundMe campaign to learn more or to donate:
“I know we can do more,” said Bell. “We now have the research and the expertise to make a real difference. It’s time to end veteran suicide. Because we should.”
VRx launch teaser
Full VRx Campaign Video
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SOURCE 2B3D inc.