Purpose: To investigate the feasibility of using a virtual rehabilitation system with intuitive user interface and force feedback to improve the skills in activities of daily living (ADL).
Method: A virtual training system equipped with haptic devices was developed for the rehabilitation of three ADL tasks – door unlocking, water pouring and meat cutting. Twenty subjects with upper limb disabilities, supervised by two occupational therapists, received a four-session training using the system. The task completion time and the amount of water poured into a virtual glass were recorded. The performance of the three tasks in reality was assessed before and after the virtual training. Feedback of the participants was collected with questionnaires after the study.
Results: The completion time of the virtual tasks decreased during the training (p < 0.01) while the percentage of water successfully poured increased (p = 0.051). The score of the Borg scale of perceived exertion was 1.05 (SD = 1.85; 95% CI = 0.18–1.92) and that of the task specific feedback questionnaire was 31 (SD = 4.85; 95% CI = 28.66–33.34). The feedback of the therapists suggested a positive rehabilitation effect. The participants had positive perception towards the system.
Conclusions: The system can potentially be used as a tool to complement conventional rehabilitation approaches of ADL.
- Implications for rehabilitation
Rehabilitation of activities of daily living can be facilitated using computer-assisted approaches.
The existing approaches focus on cognitive training rather than the manual skills.
A virtual training system with intuitive user interface and force feedback was designed to improve the learning of the manual skills.
The study shows that system could be used as a training tool to complement conventional rehabilitation approaches.