Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is ViTA DMF?
A. ViTA DMF is a software program and curriculum that uses virtual reality to help people with autism and other developmental disabilities practice and refine their job interviewing skills. Subjects interact with a diverse set of virtual humans operating in a variety of digital environments that mimic the workplace.
Q. What does ViTA DMF stand for?
A. ViTA DMF stands for the Virtual Interactive Training Agent and DMF are the initials of the Dan Marino Foundation.
Q. Who created ViTA DMF?
A. The USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) and The Dan Marino Foundation (DMF).
Q. Why create special software for people with autism and other developmental disabilities?
A. Autism can disrupt many facets of typical development, and most people with autism have deficits in the area of interpersonal communications. Many other developmental disabilities are also characterized by communications deficits. Underperforming on job interviews is a major barrier to employment for people with developmental disabilities.
Q. What is the unemployment rate for people with developmental disabilities?
A. According to the Bureau on Labor and Statistics, 82.9% of the people with developmental disabilities were unemployed in 2014-the latest available year on record.
Q. Who can purchase ViTA DMF?
A. ViTA-DMF software is licensed on an annual subscription basis to schools and organizations that work with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Q. How much does ViTA DMF cost to license?
A. The licensing fee is $999 for a 12 month subscription for the first “seat” and an additional $250 per year for each “sub-station.”
Q. What happens at the end of the 12 month subscription?
Q. What is a “seat” and “substation”?
A. When a school or organization licenses ViTA DMF, their first download of the software constitutes the “seat”. If the organization wants to acquire more ViTA-DMF licenses to operate on additional computers, these computers constitute “substations.”
Q. Can parents or individuals license ViTA DMF?
A. No, ViTA-DMF is not being licensed to individual users at this time, but we encourage individuals and parents to introduce ViTA DMF to local schools or nonprofit agencies who could make it available for use in your community.
Q. Why do we have to pay for this software?
A. The software is actually provided for free. Your subscription fees support the further development of the curriculum, user training, research and technical support.
Q. How many persons does it take to operate ViTA DMF?
A. In addition to the person being interviewed, ViTA DMF requires at least one proctor to guide the virtual human’s dialogue and record data.
Q. Your site mentions a research component to ViTA DMF, if we get a subscription, are they commitments we have to make to participate in research?
A. Yes, in order for us to test and improve our product, our Use Agreement requires ViTA DMF users to gather and submit data. We are currently working on protocols to make the data collection and submission process as simple as possible.