A Virtual Reality rehabilitation system

untitled6.JPGEngineers at Rutgers University are using a modified version of a popular  computer game to provide rehabilitation for people who have suffered strokes or other types of brain injury.  

The VR rehab system is based on a Microsoft XBox game and the Essential Reality P5 gaming glove (left), which detects movements of the fingers and wrist and uses them to manipulate on-screen objects or characters. 

The system, developed by Grigore Burdea and his colleagues at the Human-Machine Interface Lab, is on display at the fifth International Workshop on Virtual Rehabilitation, taking place in New York today.

“Virtual reality is showing significant promise for promoting faster and more complete rehabilitation, but the cost of many systems is still prohibitive for widespread deployment in outpatient clinics or patients’ homes,” says Burdea, who is a professor of computer engineering.

The gaming glove is less accurate than others developed specifically for rehabilitation purposes and, unlike more expensive systems, does not provide tactile feedback.

However, because the glove and other components are commercially available and only require minor modifications, the system developed by the Rutgers team costs less than $600, and could be used by patients in their own homes while being monitored remotely by a clinician via an internet connection.  

One major advantage of VR rehab procedures is that they engage patients who might otherwise lack the motivation needed to go perform conventional rehab exercises. In this film clip, a patient performs a finger-flexing exercise to squeeze a virtual ball:

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2 thoughts on “A Virtual Reality rehabilitation system

  1. An interesting account of an even more interesting study.. but I have a minor quibble.. Rutgers is in New Jersey, not New York. In fact, it’s the state university of New Jersey. Sorry to nitpick but as a student and native New Jerseyan I had to get my two cents in :)

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