Posts Tagged Virtual Reality

[Conference paper] Usage of VR Headsets for Rehabilitation Exergames – Abstract+References

Abstract

The work presented here is part of a large project aimed at finding new ways to tackle exergames used for physical rehabilitation. The preferred user group consists of physically impaired who normally cannot use commercially available games; our approach wants to fill a niche and allow them to get the same playing experience like healthy. Four exercises were implemented with the Blender Game engine and connected to a motion capture device (Kinect) via a modular middleware. The games incorporate special features that enhance weak user movements, such that the avatar reacts in the same way as for persons without physical restrictions. Additionally, virtual reality glasses have been integrated to achieve a more immersive feeling during play. In this work, we compare the results of preliminary user tests, performed with and without VR glasses. Test outcomes are good for motion amplification in some of the games but do not present generally better results when using the VR glasses.

Source: Usage of VR Headsets for Rehabilitation Exergames | SpringerLink

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[WEB SITE] The Rehabilitation Gaming System

slideshow 1RGS is a highly innovative Virtual Reality (VR) tool for the rehabilitation of deficits that occur after brain lesions and has been successfully used for the rehabilitation of the upper extremities after stroke.
The RGS is based on the neurobiological considerations that plasticity of the brain remains  throughout life and therefore can be utilized to achieve functional reorganization of the brain areas affected by stroke. This can be realized by means of activation of secondary motor areas such as the so called mirror neurons system.

RGS deploys a deficit oriented training approach. Specifically, while training with RGS the patient is playing individualized games where movement execution is combined with the observation of correlated actions performed by a virtual body. The system optimizes the user’s training by analyzing the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the user’s performance. This warranties a detailed assessment of the deficits of the patient and their recovery dynamics.

Key articles and Recent publications

also see specs.upf.edu

Source: The Rehabilitation Gaming System | Rehabilitation Gaming System

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[ARTICLE] Competitive and cooperative arm rehabilitation games played by a patient and unimpaired person: effects on motivation and exercise intensity – Full Text

Abstract

Background

People with chronic arm impairment should exercise intensely to regain their abilities, but frequently lack motivation, leading to poor rehabilitation outcome. One promising way to increase motivation is through interpersonal rehabilitation games, which allow patients to compete or cooperate together with other people. However, such games have mainly been evaluated with unimpaired subjects, and little is known about how they affect motivation and exercise intensity in people with chronic arm impairment.

Methods

We designed four different arm rehabilitation games that are played by a person with arm impairment and their unimpaired friend, relative or occupational therapist. One is a competitive game (both people compete against each other), two are cooperative games (both people work together against the computer) and one is a single-player game (played only by the impaired person against the computer). The games were played by 29 participants with chronic arm impairment, of which 19 were accompanied by their friend or relative and 10 were accompanied by their occupational therapist. Each participant played all four games within a single session. Participants’ subjective experience was quantified using the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory questionnaire after each game, as well as a final questionnaire about game preferences. Their exercise intensity was quantified using wearable inertial sensors that measured hand velocity in each game.

Results

Of the 29 impaired participants, 12 chose the competitive game as their favorite, 12 chose a cooperative game, and 5 preferred to exercise alone. Participants who chose the competitive game as their favorite showed increased motivation and exercise intensity in that game compared to other games. Participants who chose a cooperative game as their favorite also showed increased motivation in cooperative games, but not increased exercise intensity.

Conclusions

Since both motivation and intensity are positively correlated with rehabilitation outcome, competitive games have high potential to lead to functional improvement and increased quality of life for patients compared to conventional rehabilitation exercises. Cooperative games do not increase exercise intensity, but could still increase motivation of patients who do not enjoy competition. However, such games need to be tested in longer, multisession studies to determine whether the observed increases in motivation and exercise intensity persist over a longer period of time and whether they positively affect rehabilitation outcome.

Trial registration

The study is not a clinical trial. While human subjects are involved, they participate in a single-session evaluation of a rehabilitation game rather than a full rehabilitation intervention, and no health outcomes are examined.

Keywords

Rehabilitation ,Virtual reality ,Multiplayer games, Interpersonal rehabilitation games ,Social interaction ,Motivation ,Exercise intensity

Background

Home rehabilitation technology

Diseases such as stroke have a massively debilitating effect on people’s lives. It is estimated that one in six people will experience a stroke in their lifetime [1], and 88% of survivors report some impairment of their limb function [2]. In the United States, approximately 795,000 individuals suffer a new or recurrent stroke every year, leading to an estimated combined direct and indirect cost of $68.9 billion [3]. Intensive training delivered by a therapist soon after the injury can effectively restore motor functions needed for independent life. However, even top hospitals only devote a limited amount of time to rehabilitation of motor functions [4]. The situation is even worse in most other hospitals and health centers, where patients are idle for most of the day due to a shortage of qualified medical staff [4]. After leaving the hospital, patients thus need to exercise at home without therapist supervision in order to fully regain their abilities.

Several technologies, ranging from consumer devices such as the Microsoft Kinect [5] to complex exoskeletons [6], have been deployed for motor rehabilitation at home. These technologies usually combine limb tracking with virtual environments presented on a personal computer, which allow patients to perform a variety of simulated activities of daily living [7]. Furthermore, they incorporate game-like elements such as automated difficulty adaptation, score displays and cognitive challenges [8, 9, 10, 11]. However, despite promising technical achievements, the effectiveness of home rehabilitation technology remains limited. A recent study showed that, even if a therapist prescribes a technology-supported exercise, only about 30% of unsupervised patients will comply with the rehabilitation regimen [12].

This lack of compliance is due to lack of motivation for rehabilitation, which is known to be a key determinant of rehabilitation outcome: patients who are unmotivated will not exercise frequently or intensely enough [13, 14]. Studies outside rehabilitation have already shown that motivational interventions improve compliance with the therapy regimen [15], and recent home rehabilitation studies have emphasized the importance of motivational elements that would increase the duration and intensity of exercise [16, 17]…

Continue —> Competitive and cooperative arm rehabilitation games played by a patient and unimpaired person: effects on motivation and exercise intensity | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

Fig. 1 The BiMeo used unimanually without support (top left), unimanually on a table (top right), bimanually without support (bottom left), and bimanually on a table (bottom right)

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[Abstract] Experience of an upper limb training program with a non-immersive virtual reality system in patients after stroke: a qualitative study

Abstract

Objectives

The YouGrabber (YG) is a new virtual reality training system that focuses on unilateral and bimanual activities. This nested study was part of a larger multicentre randomised controlled trial and explored experiences of people with chronic stroke during a 4 week intensive upper limb training with YG.

Design

A qualitative design using semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. A phenomenological descriptive approach was used, with data coded, categorized and summarized using a thematic analysis. Topics investigated included: the experience of YG training, perceived impact of YG training on arm function, and the role of the treating therapist.

Results

Five people were interviewed (1 female, age range 55-75yrs, 1-6yrs post-stroke). Seven main themes were identified: (1) general experience, (2) expectations, (3) feedback, (4) arm function, (5) physiotherapist’s role, (6) fatigue, (7) motivation. Key experiences reported included feelings of motivation and satisfaction, with positive factors identified as challenge, competition, fun and effort. The YG training appeared to trigger greater effort, however fatigue was experienced at the end of the training. Overall, patients described positive changes in upper limb motor function and activity level, e.g. automatic arm use. While the opportunity for self-practice was appreciated, input from the therapist at the start of the intervention was deemed important for safety and confidence.

Conclusions

Reported experiences were mostly positive and the participants were motivated to practice intensively. They enjoyed the challenging component of the games.

Source: Experience of an upper limb training program with a non-immersive virtual reality system in patients after stroke: a qualitative study – Physiotherapy

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[ARTICLE] The application of virtual reality in neurorehabilitation: motor re-learning supported by innovative technologies – Full Text

Abstract
The motor function impairment resulting from a stroke injury has a negative impact on autonomy, the activities of daily living thus the individuals affected by a stroke need long-term rehabilitation. Several studies have demonstrated that learning new motor skills is important to induce neuroplasticity and functional recovery. Innovative technologies used in rehabilitation allow one the possibility to enhance training throughout generated feedback. It seems advantageous to combine traditional motor rehabilitation with innovative technology in order to promote motor re-learning and skill re-acquisition by means of enhanced training. An environment enriched by feedback involves multiple sensory modalities and could promote active patient participation. Exercises in a virtual environment contain elements necessary to maximize motor learning, such as repetitive
and diffe-rentiated task practice and feedback on the performance and results. The recovery of the limbs motor function in post-stroke subjects is one of the main therapeutic aims for patients and physiotherapist alike. Virtual reality as well as robotic devices allow one to provide specific treatment based on the reinforced feedback in a virtual environment (RFVE), artificially augmenting the sensory information coherent with the real-world objects and events. Motor training based on RFVE is emerging as an effective motor learning based techniques for the treatment of the extremities.

Continue —> The application of virtual reality in neurorehabilitation: motor re-learning supported by innovative technologies (PDF Download Available)

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[Abstract] Reinforced feedback in virtual environment for rehabilitation of upper extremity dysfunction after stroke: preliminary data from a randomized controlled trial.

Abstract
OBJECTIVES: To study whether the reinforced feedback in virtual environment (RFVE) is more effective than traditional rehabilitation (TR) for the treatment of upper limb motor function after stroke, regardless of stroke etiology (i.e., ischemic, hemorrhagic).
DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial. Participants. Forty-four patients affected by stroke. Intervention. The patients were randomized into two groups: RFVE (N = 23) and TR (N = 21), and stratified according to stroke etiology. The RFVE treatment consisted of multidirectional exercises providing augmented feedback provided by virtual reality, while in the TR treatment the same exercises were provided without augmented feedbacks. Outcome Measures. Fugl-Meyer upper extremity scale (F-M UE), Functional Independence Measure scale (FIM), and kinematics parameters (speed, time, and peak).
RESULTS: The F-M UE (P = 0.030), FIM (P = 0.021), time (P = 0.008), and peak (P = 0.018), were significantly higher in the RFVE group after treatment, but not speed (P = 0.140). The patients affected by hemorrhagic stroke significantly improved FIM (P = 0.031), time (P = 0.011), and peak (P = 0.020) after treatment, whereas the patients affected by ischemic stroke improved significantly only speed (P = 0.005) when treated by RFVE.
CONCLUSION: These results indicated that some poststroke patients may benefit from RFVE program for the recovery of upper limb motor function. This trial is registered with NCT01955291.

Source: Reinforced feedback in virtual environment for rehabilitation of upper extremity dysfunction after stroke: preliminary data from a randomized controlled trial.

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[Abstract] Virtual Reality to Assess and Treat Lower Extremity Disorders in Post-stroke Patients

Abstract
Introduction: This article is part of the Focus Theme of Methods of Information in Medicine on “Methodologies, Models and Algorithms for Patients Rehabilitation”.
Objectives: To identify support of a virtual reality system in the kinematic assessment and physiotherapy approach to gait disorders in individuals with stroke.
Methods: We adapt Virtual Reality Rehabilitation System (VRRS), software widely used in the functional recovery of the upper limb, for its use on the lower limb of hemiplegic patients. Clinical scales have been used to relate them with the kinematic assessment provided by the system. A description of the use of reinforced feedback provided by the system on the recovery of deficits in several real cases in the field of physiotherapy is performed. Specific examples of functional tasks have been detailed, to be considered in creating intelligent health technologies to improve post-stroke gait.
Results: Both participants improved scores on the clinical scales, the kinematic parameters in leg stance on plegic lower extremity and walking speed > Minimally Clinically Important Difference (MCID).
Conclusion: The use of the VRRS software attached to a motion tracking capture system showed their practical utility and safety in enriching physiotherapeutic assessment and treatment in post-stroke gait disorders.

Source: Virtual Reality to Assess and Treat Lower Extremity Disorders in Post-stroke Patients

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[OPINION ARTICLE] Enhancing Our Lives with Immersive Virtual Reality – Full Text

Summary

Virtual reality (VR) started about 50 years ago in a form we would recognize today [stereo head-mounted display (HMD), head tracking, computer graphics generated images] – although the hardware was completely different. In the 1980s and 1990s, VR emerged again based on a different generation of hardware (e.g., CRT displays rather than vector refresh, electromagnetic tracking instead of mechanical). This reached the attention of the public, and VR was hailed by many engineers, scientists, celebrities, and business people as the beginning of a new era, when VR would soon change the world for the better. Then, VR disappeared from public view and was rumored to be “dead.” In the intervening 25 years a huge amount of research has nevertheless been carried out across a vast range of applications – from medicine to business, from psychotherapy to industry, from sports to travel. Scientists, engineers, and people working in industry carried on with their research and applications using and exploring different forms of VR, not knowing that actually the topic had already passed away.

The purpose of this article is to survey a range of VR applications where there is some evidence for, or at least debate about, its utility, mainly based on publications in peer-reviewed journals. Of course not every type of application has been covered, nor every scientific paper (about 186,000 papers in Google Scholar): in particular, in this review we have not covered applications in psychological or medical rehabilitation. The objective is that the reader becomes aware of what has been accomplished in VR, where the evidence is weaker or stronger, and what can be done. We start in Section 1 with an outline of what VR is and the major conceptual framework used to understand what happens when people experience it – the concept of “presence.” In Section 2, we review some areas where VR has been used in science – mostly psychology and neuroscience, the area of scientific visualization, and some remarks about its use in education and surgical training. In Section 3, we discuss how VR has been used in sports and exercise. In Section 4, we survey applications in social psychology and related areas – how VR has been used to throw light on some social phenomena, and how it can be used to tackle experimentally areas that cannot be studied experimentally in real life. We conclude with how it has been used in the preservation of and access to cultural heritage. In Section 5, we present the domain of moral behavior, including an example of how it might be used to train professionals such as medical doctors when confronting serious dilemmas with patients. In Section 6, we consider how VR has been and might be used in various aspects of travel, collaboration, and industry. In Section 7, we consider mainly the use of VR in news presentation and also discuss different types of VR. In the concluding Section 8, we briefly consider new ideas that have recently emerged – an impossible task since during the short time we have written this page even newer ideas have emerged! And, we conclude with some general considerations and speculations.

Throughout and wherever possible we have stressed novel applications and approaches and how the real power of VR is not necessarily to produce a faithful reproduction of “reality” but rather that it offers the possibility to step outside of the normal bounds of reality and realize goals in a totally new and unexpected way. We hope that our article will provoke readers to think as paradigm changers, and advance VR to realize different worlds that might have a positive impact on the lives of millions of people worldwide, and maybe even help a little in saving the planet.

Continue —> Frontiers | Enhancing Our Lives with Immersive Virtual Reality | Virtual Environments

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[WEB SITE] Virtual reality intervention shows promise to repair mobility and motor skills in impaired limb

A combination of traditional physical therapy and technology may improve the motor skills and mobility of an impaired hand by having its partner, more mobile hand lead by example through virtual reality training, new Tel Aviv University research suggests.

“Patients suffering from hemiparesis — the weakness or paralysis of one of two paired limbs — undergo physical therapy, but this therapy is challenging, exhausting, and usually has a fairly limited effect,” said lead investigator Prof. Roy Mukamel of TAU’s School of Psychological Sciences and Sagol School of Neuroscience, who conducted the research with his student Ori Ossmy. “Our results suggest that training with a healthy hand through a virtual reality intervention provides a promising way to repair mobility and motor skills in an impaired limb.” The research was published in Cell Reports.

Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing?

53 healthy participants completed baseline tests to assess the motor skills of their hands, then strapped on virtual reality headsets that showed simulated versions of their hands. The virtual reality technology, however, presented the participants with a “mirror image” of their hands — when they moved their real right hand, their virtual left hand would move.

In the first experiment, participants completed a series of finger movements with their right hands, while the screen showed their “virtual” left hands moving instead. In the next, participants placed motorized gloves on their left hands, which moved their fingers to match the motions of their right hands. Again, the headsets presented the virtual left hands moving instead of their right hands.

The research team found that when subjects practiced finger movements with their right hands while watching their left hands on 3D virtual reality headsets, they could use their left hands more efficiently after the exercise. But the most notable improvements occurred when the virtual reality screen showed the left hand moving while in reality the motorized glove moved the hand.

Tricking the brain

“We effectively tricked the brain,” said Prof. Mukamel.

“Technologically, these experiments were a big challenge,” Prof. Mukamel continued. “We manipulated what people saw and combined it with the passive, mechanical movement of the hand to show that our left hand can learn even when it is not moving under voluntary control.”

The researchers are optimistic that this research could be applied to patients in physical therapy programs who have lost the strength or control of one hand. “We need to show a way to obtain high-performance gains relative to other, more traditional types of therapies,” said Prof. Mukamel. “If we can train one hand without voluntarily moving it and still show significant improvements in the motor skills of that hand, we’ve achieved the ideal.”

The researchers are currently examining the applicability of their novel VR training scheme to stroke patients.

Source: American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Source: Virtual reality intervention shows promise to repair mobility and motor skills in impaired limb

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[WEB SITE] YouGrabber Glove-Based Rehab System Delivers Virtual Reality-Based Therapy

A continued collaboration between Flexpoint Sensor Systems Inc and Switzerland-based YouRehab results in the YouGrabber, a therapy glove system that features the Flexpoint Bend Sensor.

The YouGrabber is part of the YouRehab rehabilitative therapy suite composed also of YouKicker and YouInteract, all of which feature virtual reality devices and therapy management software.

According to the product’s website, the YouGrabber can be used with such indications as central nervous system disorders or damage, spinal cord disorders or damage, peripheral nerve lesions, orthopaedic impairments, and cognitive attention and reaction deficits.

Areas to be trained can include arm pronation and supination, arm lifting and lowering, hand and finger extension, grasping movements, fine finger movements, wrist flexion and extension, and elbow flexion and extension.

“Flexpoint is honored to be a part of this exciting, collaborative relationship with YouRehab. The company is setting new standards for next-gen, virtual reality enabled technology in the medical rehabilitative space,” comments Paul Sexauer, Flexpoint vice president of sales and marketing, in a media release from the company.

[Source(s): Flexpoint Sensor Systems Inc, PR Newswire]

Source: YouGrabber Glove-Based Rehab System Delivers Virtual Reality-Based Therapy – Rehab Managment

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