The Uses of VR and AR in Rehabilitation and Therapy

What comes to mind when you think about traditional rehabilitation? It’s tedious! It is by its very nature repetitious, and these repetitions gradually deplete patients’ motivation. Furthermore, it necessitates at least one therapist working 1:1 with the patient, raising the need for resources and, as a result, the healthcare system’s expenditures. Furthermore, it lacks objective data as well as the capacity to track the portion of therapy that patients perform at home.

Thanks to the development of technology. Technological developments, especially in VR and AR, have made the rehabilitation process easier. Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic when patients have their own fear of coming to the hospital and doing rehabilitation or therapy for fear of contracting the corona virus.

By merging rehabilitation tactics in an innovative and low-cost approach, Virtual Reality (VR) has lately emerged as a relevant alternative to conventional therapy. VR-based therapy can be engaging and motivational, as well as providing a pleasant learning experience.

The principles of virtual reality (VR) and brain computer interface (BCI) have been used by researchers at the University of South Carolina to treat chronic stroke survivors with varying degrees of motor dysfunction. Their multimodal technique employs virtual reality to show patients avatars of their upper limbs, followed by a combination of brain (EEG) and muscle (EMG) sensors and signals to visualize their attempted movement to complete the job. This has been proven to increase patients’ capacity to imagine and plan motions, re-engage motor circuits, and improve upper limb motor function recovery over time.

VR and AR enable patients to receive remote therapy during the COVID-19 epidemic, when everyone is obliged to practice social distancing. The use of biosensors such as Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs), force sensors, and electromyography (EMG) sensors allows therapists to offer patients with fast feedback on the progress and quality of tasks they complete, allowing them to understand and remedy any errors.

Patients can readily access and execute workout programs prescribed by therapists using VR-based tele-rehabilitation from the comfort of their own homes. Virtual reality assignments provide patients with a safe and regulated environment in which to exercise. Clinical data is collected in real time and stored in online databases that may be accessed from anywhere. (News – Putri Fortuna)