Archive for category Virtual reality rehabilitation

[WEB SITE] VRHealth unveils VR software for hot flashes

The new technology will provide users with an AI guide that will lead them through CBT.

By Laura Lovett, December 12, 2018

Photo credit: VRHealth

 

VRHealth has exclusively unveiled to MobiHealthNews a virtual reality product called Luna that was designed to help patients manage hot flashes.

The new VR product, which can be used by patients going through menopause or chemotherapy treatment, employs cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It also gives users a data analysis of their treatment.

When a user puts on the VR headset, they are greeted by an AI trainer called Luna who guides users through CBT and other coping mechanisms. The technology also lets users virtually travel to another environment.

“That trainer you can take to different places. One part of the app is called practice breathing in an environment. It [let’s you] see how you breath,” Eran Orr, CEO of VRHealth, told MobiHealthNews. “Users can actually see the environment and go into a lake or waterfall.”

While the technology will first be given to patients in a hospital setting, Orr said that the idea is for the system to go home with the patients.

“Patients will be introduced to it during chemotherapy or treatment in the hospital and will take [the] headset back home,” he said. “It is an AI that is basically a trainer that follows improvement and can be adjusted automatically.”

The idea for Luna came out of a personal connection. One of the members of the VRHealth team developed the idea for the technology after undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and experiencing hot flashes as a side effect.

Orr said that Luna will officially launch in January of 2019 at CES.

Why it matters

Hot flashes, which are often triggered by a hormone drop, are associated with breast cancer chemotherapy and surgery to remove the ovaries as well as menopause, according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). While women are most likely to experience hot flashes, the CTCA said that men can also experience the condition.

Common treatment options include hormone therapy, antidepressants and other prescription medications, according to the Mayo Clinic. Alternative medicine including meditation, acupuncture and CBT are also used.

VRHealth is pitching this technology as another avenue to treat the condition, and Orr hinted that in yet-to-be-released clinical trials Luna outperformed medications for hot flash treatment.

What’s the trend

VRHealth was in the news in September when it teamed up with Facebook’s Oculus, which makes VR hardware and other related products, on a range of healthcare-focused VR applications to be delivered on the latter’s hardware.

VR as a whole is growing. Many in healthcare are looking to the technology to help with pain, discomfort and anxiety. Clinicians are deploying it in a wide range of settings including obstetricspediatrics and rehabilitation.

On the record 

“We believe VR can be an amazing replacement for opiates or any kind of nonnatural hormone and the most common treatments that have a lot of side effects,” Orr said. “We believe VR could be a good solution.”

via VRHealth unveils VR software for hot flashes | MobiHealthNews

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[Proceeding] Investigation of Upper Arm Muscle Activation for the Progress Monitoring in Stroke Rehabilitation – Full Text PDF

Abstract

This paper investigates the muscle activation of the upper arm for the progress monitoring of post-stroke rehabilitation. The performance measure is an indicator to monitor the progress of the rehabilitation exercise. The aim is for the fast recovery from the lost function of the upper limb as a result of the paralyzed patients. The investigation results will be employed in virtual reality (VR) game technology in the stroke rehabilitation exercise. It can solve the problem of the conventional stroke therapy which some prove inefficient and even some fail to regain patients’ upper arm. The rehabilitation task requires the muscle activity measurement and monitoring of the progress that involve both fundamental and functional movements. By consistently do the rehabilitation exercise, patients can slowly develop the motor functions, which enables them to slowly regain the movement of the affected limb. In the experiments, five healthy subjects were selected. The experimental results show that deltoid has a significant activation compared with the bicep. In the VR systems, these two muscles will be used to monitor the progress of the rehabilitation.

INTRODUCTION

Stroke is one of the main five driving reasons for death and one of the best 10 foundations for hospitalization in Malaysia. World Health Organization (WHO) statistical profile for Malaysia stated that the stroke was at second position for causes of deaths in Malaysia, killing 15.5 thousand people in 2012. Based on study by Burke and Venketasubramanian [1], it was stated that Malaysia was at third position for stroke mortality and at fourth placed among causes of death after 1991. Stroke can cause a long-term disability. The major cause of this disability is due to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), and Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA) [2]. The outcomes of these ailments are impact on patient’s personal satisfaction as well as likewise confined their execution of everyday life exercises. Motor deficits following stroke are most obvious in the contralesional (inverse of the injury side of the cerebrum) limbs, and may include muscle shortcoming, fatigue, abnormal muscle tone, and joint and muscle contracture [2-4]. In order to recover from this disability, hospitals and clinics had conducted the rehabilitation proses of training with the goals to heal or improve lost function of human motor due to the stroke disease [5-7].

This research is conducted to select the most activated muscle on human body specifically for upper arm muscle in case of measuring the performance of post stroke patient in rehabilitation. The objective of this research is to investigate the motion features of the functional movement by using electromyography (EMG). The significant muscle for the performance measure of the stroke rehabilitation will be proposed. Not to forget the functional pattern or motion pattern will be design to get the better muscle activation performance.

The organization of the paper is as follows. Introduction is given in the first section of this paper. Then, literature review regarding EMG and post stroke rehabilitation will be presented in the following section. Methodology and flow of this work will be explained in detail in the third section. Results of this work can be seen in the fourth section.

Finally, conclusions and future recommendation is also given in the end of this paper.[…]

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[WEB SITE] Augmented Reality At Spaulding Works To Help Patients Heal

It looks like Mark Priest is walking down the hall using arm crutches, but from his perspective, he says “I’m trying to chase Pac man. Keep my head steady, keep a nice cadence.”

Priest is putting the visor technology to the test. “The concept is to improve my gait and my stride by keeping a certain speed.”

The technology he is using could revolutionize the way people with catastrophic injuries are helped.

markpriest Augmented Reality At Spaulding Works To Help Patients Heal

“I have a spinal cord injury at level T-9 and T-12 of the vertebrae,” Priest explained.

The Inspire Lab, headed by Doctor Randy Trumbower, focuses on helping people move again. This year, his team of scientists created a new technology using augmented reality.

Trumbower said, “Augmented reality is a mix between what’s real and what’s not real…It’s a game changer for sure.”

doctor Augmented Reality At Spaulding Works To Help Patients Heal

That means computer generated images are superimposed over the real environment. For example, a patient can follow a Pac man around the room at changing speeds.

“Different grades, steps, obstacles, things that you maybe wouldn’t experience in a traditional therapy setting,” said Preist.

It also means that this therapy can be targeted. “The thing that is attractive about this particular technology is that it extends those benefits in a way that is more personalized,” said Trumbower.

augmentedreality Augmented Reality At Spaulding Works To Help Patients Heal

And ultimately it allows a patient to use that technology anywhere.

Priest said, “My goal is to improve my walking and get off the use of Loftstrand crutches and just be more independent in my day to day living.”

While Priest can only use the visor for short periods, he has still seen improvements. Friday was the first time he tried it without crutches.

“I’m really excited to see the advancement of this technology and how it can help.”

The lab is still in the early stages with the technology, but the promise is there and the work continues.

 

via Augmented Reality At Spaulding Works To Help Patients Heal « CBS Boston

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[Abstract] Properties of Mechatronic System for Hand Rehabilitation

ABSTRACT

The article describes an innovative mechatronic device for the hand rehabilitation, which enables diagnostics, comprehensive exercises and reporting of the results of rehabilitation of individual fingers of people who have lost their full efficiency as a result of past illnesses (i.a. stroke) and orthopedic injuries. The basic purpose of the device is to provide controlled, active exercises of the individual fingers, to widen the range of their movements, and to increase their precision of movement. The developed mechatronic device works with original software for PCs containing a diagnostic module, reporting module and a set of virtual reality exercises using biofeedback. The device uses auditory and visual biofeedback, and electromyography (EMG).

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Jacek Stanisław Tutak   
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics, Rzeszow University of Technology, al. Powstańców Warszawy 8, 35-959 Rzeszów, Poland

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[WEB SITE] Virtual personal trainer helps seniors get more exercise at home

U of A researcher developing personalized program that brings the appeal of electronic gaming to physical therapy for older adults.

By BEV BETKOWSKI

 

A high-tech University of Alberta research project is letting seniors hit a computerized gym especially designed for their needs.

VirtualGym, an electronic game that combines the entertainment of gaming with prescribed exercises, is being put through its paces in a Calgary seniors’ residence to test its user-friendliness and appeal.

Once perfected, it will deliver at-home therapeutic exercises for seniors with chronic health issues, mobility problems or dementia, at the click of a button.

“It’s a concept of bringing rehabilitation home,” said PhD candidate Noelannah Neubauer, who helped design the program. “We already have telehealth being used by doctors, why not rehabilitation too?”

The joint research project is teaming computing scientist Eleni Stroulia and other researchers from the faculties of science and rehabilitation medicine, with support from AGE-WELL, Canada’s Technology and Aging Network.

Designed to work through Kinect, a motion sensor system originally designed for Xbox video game consoles, VirtualGym works by giving users personalized feedback as they exercise along with an onscreen avatar using a “Simon Says” theme.

“It’s designed so the exercises are completely customizable from a personal trainer or physical therapist and their progress can be monitored,” Neubauer said. By recording users’ movements through VirtualGym, therapists can remotely watch for progressions and adjust exercises accordingly.

Stroulia and her team thought their original version of VirtualGym, developed in 2015, would be a good fit for seniors, but it was a flop with their test group, who found the game too busy.

“They didn’t like it at all,” said Victor Fernandez-Cervantes, a post-doctoral researcher in computing science, who took it back to the drawing board.

Using feedback from Edmonton senior Stuart Embleton and other volunteers from the Cardiac Athletic Society of Edmonton who tried the system, Fernandez-Cervantes made VirtualGym more user-friendly.

“We wanted to design it from their point of view.”

He dialled down the noise with a less distracting and cartoonish version of the game. The screen scenery evolved from its original version—an instructional avatar exercising on snowy ground in front of a brick building—to a soothing blank-walled room with a potted plant at either side. The avatar’s build was also adjusted to reflect a more typical body shape for older adults. As well, he programmed its movements with simple but specific instructions on how to do an exercise properly, complete with correctional tools like arrows and colours that pop up if needed.

Fernandez-Cervantes is continuing to tweak VirtualGym to create a 3-D version. Right now the exercises are only partially viewable, which is a problem for seniors, Embleton believes. “If the program wants you to lift your leg and kick your foot up, you should be able to see that action from a suitable perspective,” he explained.

Other planned improvements include adding simple games to measure cognitive awareness for users. “Over time, perhaps changes in scores could reflect varying levels of cognitive impairment,” Neubauer said.

The eventual plan is to market VirtualGym widely through a spinoff company, Stroulia said.

Embleton, 77, believes seniors would use VirtualGym if it were available to them.

“Most seniors nowadays have computers and TV sets, and that, plus an optical input, is all you need to use the system. It’s going to be more and more useful as it’s further developed. It’s called a game, but it’s really a useful therapeutic process. If I had a broken hip or was frail or couldn’t drive, and needed some physical therapy, I could use a virtual gym at home,” he said.

That’s especially valuable for rural or shut-in seniors who can’t go to real-life gym classes or make regular visits to physiotherapy clinics, said Neubauer.

“We want seniors to be able to exercise more, and this provides another option for them.”

Their work on VirtualGym also offers insight and a set of guidelines for other game designers wanting to develop exercise technology for seniors, said Fernandez-Cervantes.

“When designing products, seniors need to be involved. Soon enough, everyone will be a senior.”

 

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[WEB SITE] Tampa students develop virtual reality games to increase physical therapy’s effectiveness

VIDEO —> VR could increase physical therapy effectiveness

http://www.fox13news.com/health/tampa-students-develop-virtual-reality-games-to-increase-physical-therapy-s-effectiveness

 – Anyone who’s gone through physical therapy knows it can be an arduous and time-consuming process, but what if physical therapy was more like playing a really fun video game?

Some students at the University of Tampa are changing the game for injury recovery, using virtual reality to ease the mental burden of rehabilitation.

Student Jonathan Truong is part of the team of UT students developing PT VR. As a child, he contracted meningitis and, as a complication of the disease, suffered a stroke.

Since then, he’s gone through eight rounds of physical therapy. His history of pain and rehab is the driving force behind his desire to improve the field.

“It’s aggravating,” Truong said. “Physical therapy is boring. It’s very repetitive for me.”

The University of Tampa senior is majoring in entrepreneurship, meanwhile, keeping an eye on advancements in virtual reality.

So he launched Verapy. It allows patients to do physical therapy using a virtual reality headset connected to sensors on a patient’s hands and feet.

“We are allowing these patients to feel empowered,” he said. “They are doing their physical therapy without thinking about it.”

But the game isn’t just a game. Verapy games sent data that can help physical therapists understand a patient’s improvement, both for pain level and range of motion.

“The therapist doesn’t have to watch them constantly,” he said. “So it saves them time.”

There are a number of games that allow for work on different body parts. It’s still in beta testing in three physical therapist’s offices in the Bay Area.

A problem doctors and therapists face is patients quitting before they are fully rehabilitated. They hope Verapy will help them keep more patients.

It’s music to Jonathan’s ears, after what he’s been through.

“It [makes] me feel great,” he said, adding that Verapy has gotten 16 letters of intent from local therapists to test the product.

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[Systematic Review] Trends in robot-assisted and virtual reality-assisted neuromuscular therapy: a systematic review of health-related multiplayer games – Full Text

Abstract

Background

Multiplayer games have emerged as a promising approach to increase the motivation of patients involved in rehabilitation therapy. In this systematic review, we evaluated recent publications in health-related multiplayer games that involved patients with cognitive and/or motor impairments. The aim was to investigate the effect of multiplayer gaming on game experience and game performance in healthy and non-healthy populations in comparison to individual game play. We further discuss the publications within the context of the theory of flow and the challenge point framework.

Methods

A systematic search was conducted through EMBASE, Medline, PubMed, Cochrane, CINAHL and PsycINFO. The search was complemented by recent publications in robot-assisted multiplayer neurorehabilitation. The search was restricted to robot-assisted or virtual reality-based training.

Results

Thirteen articles met the inclusion criteria. Multiplayer modes used in health-related multiplayer games were: competitive, collaborative and co-active multiplayer modes. Multiplayer modes positively affected game experience in nine studies and game performance in six studies. Two articles reported increased game performance in single-player mode when compared to multiplayer mode.

Conclusions

The multiplayer modes of training reviewed improved game experience and game performance compared to single-player modes. However, the methods reviewed were quite heterogeneous and not exhaustive. One important take-away is that adaptation of the game conditions can individualize the difficulty of a game to a player’s skill level in competitive multiplayer games. Robotic assistance and virtual reality can enhance individualization by, for example, adapting the haptic conditions, e.g. by increasing haptic support or by providing haptic resistance. The flow theory and the challenge point framework support these results and are used in this review to frame the idea of adapting players’ game conditions.

Introduction

Robotic assistance and virtual reality in neuromuscular therapy

Neurological deficits can result in impaired motor function that affect a person’s quality of life. Researchers have been working to restore the nervous system and reduce the neurological deficits of people suffering from stroke, spinal cord injury, or traumatic brain injury [1]. For people with neurological deficits, impaired motor function is among the most prominent factors limiting the quality of life [2]. Motor neurorehabilitation can lead to permanent improvements in motor function [3]. Robotic assistance and virtual reality have the potential to enhance rehabilitation of neuromuscular deficits beyond the levels possible with conventional training strategies [45].

Game experience and task performance in multiplayer games

Robot- and virtual reality-assisted single-player games are well integrated in neurorehabilitation schedules. Recently, multiplayer games have been tested to complement neuromuscular therapy. Multiplayer games are expected to motivate the patients and increase the potential of robot- and virtual reality-assisted neuromuscular therapy.

Multiplayer games incorporate social interaction to promote the enjoyment of the involved players. The additional player adds new possibilities to the game environment, generally missed in single-player gaming against preprogrammed challenges or artificially controlled opponents. The multiplayer environment and related game mechanics can facilitate social interaction, ranging from conversation to haptic interaction. Due to the this added social interaction, the game experience is thought to be better in multiplayer compared to single-player gaming [6].

The mode of the game specifies whether the players compete or cooperate with one another [7]. In line with the flow theory, a competitive mode requires opponents of similar skill level to achieve enjoyment as the task difficulty experienced by one opponent [8]. Comparable skill levels prevent boredom or stress and result in a meaningful challenge level that leads to a flow state when training [9]. In such training conditions the players have a positive game experience.

In positive game experience players increase their game performance [910]. Increased game performance facilitates the general idea of serious games, i.e., playing for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment [11]. If enhanced game performance is achieved by increased physical activity, training intensity is also increased. In neuromuscular therapy, training intensity – alongside early treatment, user-centered, and task-oriented training – is one of the key factors in neurorehabilitation [1213]. Therefore, multiplayer gaming has great potential to further increase the benefits of robot-assisted neuromuscular and virtual reality-assisted therapy [1415].

[…]

 

Continue —> Trends in robot-assisted and virtual reality-assisted neuromuscular therapy: a systematic review of health-related multiplayer games | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

 

Fig. 4Difficulty adaptation based on individual condition setting in multiplayer games. Game experience (left) can be optimized by balancing the game performance (right). – Left: The initial game experience under nominal conditions relates to the skill level of the opponent and is non-optimal for differently skilled players (squares). Optimal game experience is perceived by the players when the condition adapts the difficulty towards the players’ skill level (circles). – Right: A common initial game performance state consists of a conditional task difficulty and its corresponding player specific game performance (square). Player specific difficulty adaptation can balance the game performances of the two players (circles)

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[Abstract + References] Project Star Catcher: A Novel Immersive Virtual Reality Experience for Upper Limb Rehabilitation

Abstract

Modern immersive virtual reality experiences have the unique potential to motivate patients undergoing physical therapy for performing intensive repetitive task-based treatment and can be utilized to collect real-time user data to track adherence and compliance rates. This article reports the design and evaluation of an immersive virtual reality game using the HTC Vive for upper limb rehabilitation, titled “Project Star Catcher” (PSC), aimed at users with hemiparesis. The game mechanics were adapted from modified Constraint Induced Therapy (mCIT), an established therapy method where users are asked to use the weaker arm by physically binding the stronger arm. Our adaptation changes the physical to psychological binding by providing various types of immersive stimulation to influence the use of the weaker arm. PSC was evaluated by users with combined developmental and physical impairments as well as stroke survivors. The results suggest that we were successful in providing a motivating experience for performing mCIT as well as a cost-effective solution for real-time data capture during therapy. We conclude the article with a set of considerations for immersive virtual reality therapy game design.

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[Poster] Pilot Testing of Upper Limb Robot Rehabilitation of Post-Stroke Patients using Mirror Therapy – Abstract

Abstract

This research describes the initial testing of the ARWED, which is a virtual reality system for physical rehabilitation of patients with reduced upper extremity mobility resulting from a stroke. The purpose of the ARWED is to increase limb Active Range of Motion. The system performs a symmetric reflection of the patients’ healthy limb into a virtual 3D photorealistic model and maps it in real time on to their most affected limb, tapping into the mirror neuron system and facilitating the initial learning phase. Using the developed system, pilot experiments tested the extension of the action-observation priming effect linked to the mirror-neuron system on healthy subjects and one post-stroke patient. The initial assessment of the developed virtual photorealistic 3D hand models with healthy subjects imply that the developed models prime the human motor system in a manner consistent with the human model.

The ARWED was tested on one post-stroke patient for the period of four weeks (one session/week). To assess the outcomes, the patient was tested on standard Box and Blocks and Fugl-Meyer tests prior and after the four-week ARWED therapy. Both tests are standard and assist in assessing the sensorimotor recovery after stroke. Movement time and Reaction time were measured through electromyography and 3D motion tracking system. The testing showed that people with reduced joint motions can react to computer animations, link those animations onto joint motions, and learn to move successfully with a constraint. The preliminary assessment of the ARWED revealed that overall there are no changes in the assessment scores with only 4 rounds of device training per patient. However, the pilot electromyography tests showed that the virtual reality mirror therapy could trigger muscle activation in patients that are more than 3 years post-stroke. This can further serve as evidence that the time needed for recovery from stroke is not limited to one year and that additional practice can improve mobility in both the sub-acute and chronic phases following a stroke. It was concluded that patients may benefit from increased frequency and duration of training with the device to assess for any changes in the assessment scores.

Summary of research results to be presented

The preliminary assessment of the ARWED revealed that overall there are no changes in the assessment scores with only 4 rounds of device training per patient. However, the pilot electromyography tests showed that the virtual reality mirror therapy could trigger muscle activation in patients that are more than 3 years post-stroke. This can further serve as evidence that the time needed for recovery from stroke is not limited to one year and that additional practice can improve mobility in both the sub-acute and chronic phases following a stroke. It was concluded that patients may benefit from increased frequency and duration of training with the device to assess for any changes in the assessment scores.

 

via Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research – Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research: Pilot Testing of Upper Limb Robot Rehabilitation of Post-Stroke Patients using Mirror Therapy

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[WEB SITE] VR, AR and the NHS: How virtual and augmented reality will change healthcare – Video

https://www.zdnet.com/video/vr-and-bionic-body-parts/

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies are still at an early stage, but both could have significant benefits for the NHS.

Healthcare organisations could be spending as much as $5bn globally on AR and VR by 2025 according to one prediction, with potential applications ranging from surgical simulation and diagnostic imaging to patient care and rehabilitation. VR headsets — like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive — offer a fully immersive experience while AR headsets — like Microsoft HoloLens or Magic Leap — allow you to overlay virtual objects onto the real world to create a mixed-reality experience. Both options are being explored by doctors around the world.

And while countries with private healthcare systems are leading the way in VR adoption, countries dominated by publicly-funded healthcare are also exploring these technologies.

Surgeons in Poland have already demonstrated how Google Glass could be used to help plan heart procedures, and now NHS clinicians are following suit. Microsoft’s HoloLens has been used to help surgeons plan operations: for example, surgeons at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool hope to use it to visualise patients’ scans during procedures, while three surgeons in three separate UK hospitals have used it for bowel cancer surgery.

SEE: Exomedicine arrives: How labs in space could pave the way for healthcare breakthroughs on Earth (cover story PDF)

A team of surgeons at Queen Mary’s Hospital have also been experimenting with wearing HoloLens headsets during surgery, overlaying a map of the patient’s anatomy — showing the path of blood vessels and the course of muscle groups — onto them during surgery. The map is created using CT scans of the patient, and allows the surgeons to navigate away from important structures during surgery. “There’s a lot of activity in this area now these types of devices are readily and commercially available,” says Philip Pratt, research fellow in the department of Surgery & Cancer at Imperial College London.

For example, surgeons who can visualise anatomy using the headsets can more easily avoid sensitive structures when making incisions, potentially reducing the time it takes for the patient to heal and therefore the time they spend in hospital, and similarly reduce the need for any secondary or corrective surgery.

Training up future doctors could also be a growth area for VR. While universities, rather than the NHS, are charged with training medical students, the vast majority of graduates from UK medical schools will go on to work in the NHS, and so their degrees are designed to fit the needs of the health service. Once qualified, junior doctors still receive significant amounts of training within their NHS hospital placements too.

There are already a handful of proof-of-concept anatomy teaching modules that use AR. One medical school in the US is planning to do away with its anatomy lab altogether in favour of using HoloLens.

And for junior doctors — those undertaking training in a medical speciality such as general surgery, psychiatry, or respiratory medicine — VR is likely to have an even greater role in their future training, helping them learn how to perform new procedures in a virtual hospital and even experience them from the patient’s point of view to help improve their communication skills. NASA has even considered using AR headsets to help astronauts conduct medical examinations aboard the International Space Station.

SEE ALSO: AI and the NHS: How artificial intelligence will change everything for patients and doctors

VR and AR won’t just be doctors’ tools, however: early experiments are showing that patients too could be seeing more virtual reality headsets in their future.

Companies like Oxford VR have been trialling the use of VR technology to help mental health patients. The University of Oxford spinout has been using simulated environments and a virtual coach to help people tackle their fear of heights.

The National Institute of Health Research is funding Oxford VR to the tune of £4m to develop a VR therapy package for patients with psychosis; it is also working on a package for young people with social anxiety. Commercial VR headsets are combined with custom software to create virtual versions of the environments that patients would typically find difficult, allowing them to explore those situations safely and, eventually, become comfortable with them. The NIHR said it believes the funding will help create a VR product that will be taken up by the NHS.

VR therapy has also been tested at King’s College and the South London and Maudsley trustfor improving auditory hallucinations in people with schizophrenia, and to help families affected by the Grenfell fire.

There have also been signs that virtual reality could be used for neurological, as well as psychiatric, conditions. Traumatic brain injury can leave people severely disabled, and can require intensive rehabilitation before they’re able to perform their day-to-day activities unassisted. It’s thought VR could be used for both assessing and treating traumatic brain injury. For example, avatars in VR have been used to assess patients’ higher brain functions or detect cognitive problems, while virtual kitchens have helped healthcare professionals assess how people with traumatic brain injury can undertake normal daily activities. VR has also been used to improve balance or attention after traumatic brain injury.

SEE: Executive’s guide to the business value of VR and AR (free ebook)

For now, however, most use of VR as a treatment tool is very much in the pilot stage, offered to relatively few people; larger trials with hundreds of participants would be needed before it would be possible to assess the benefits of such treatments for the population as a whole.

It’s worth remembering that even outside of the healthcare space VR and AR are at an early stage; the hardware is still cumbersome, the applications still evolving, and the pricing still way too high. As the general market evolves, ways to apply the technology to the NHS may become clearer. Sectors such as retail, for example, where spending on new technology is less constrained, will potentially act as examples of how the technology can be used in the healthcare.

“When I see AR or VR in the retail environment, I think it’s almost desensitising some of the use cases that the NHS can then take a more bold step towards,” Andrew Finlayson, managing director of Accenture Interactive, told ZDNet.

“I do think the more that gaming and those techniques are becoming popular, the more that those companies will make their technologies more accessible to the wider populace, and they will either drop the price or they will subsidise the headsets — make them cheaper so they can sell more games, or telecoms or media. I think gaming is bringing down some of the cost and accessibility that would allow more virtual and augmented reality [in the NHS].”

The success of AR and VR has been just around the corner for decades, but if the most recent crop of headsets proved a success with consumers and business, expect to see a lot more use of such technologies in the NHS in the near future.

 

via VR, AR and the NHS: How virtual and augmented reality will change healthcare | ZDNet

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