In the fight against serious diseases and ailments, scientists often resort to the use of innovative technologies. As a result, hi-tech simulators have come up to supervene upon traditional therapy. If earlier many diseases and diagnoses sounded like a verdict, nowadays, the employ of modern technologies gives patients hope for partial or even consummate recovery.
Back in the early nineties, scientists began to master VR technology in medicine. Medical VR apps started to appear almost 20 years ago and included surgical simulators, rehabilitation applications, and telepresence surgery solutions in VR. One of the start VR simulators designed back in 1991 was The Green Telepresence Surgery System, which consisted of ii units, the workstation for surgeons, and the remote worksite. Using such VR simulators, people could practise surgery with a scalpel and clamps, simply on a virtual body. It was a huge step forwards in medical pedagogy and chapters-building for surgeons.
Now, when virtual reality is rightly considered an integral part of many spheres of human life, medicine has non become an exception, and numerous studies in this management are a confirmation to that. Co-ordinate to the research conducted by Research and Markets, the value of the virtual and augmented reality marketplace in healthcare volition reach $5 billion by 2023. Experts believe that virtual and augmented reality technologies will be widely used for treatment and rehabilitation purposes, diagnostics, and remote consultation of patients.
This enquiry studies how virtual reality can be used in the rehabilitation of seriously ill patients. Besides, we’ll check some existing and potential applications for this technology in the field of disability and rehabilitation for the ease of reference.
Why to Utilise VR in Healthcare?
Today, Virtual Reality in medicine is goose egg new, and there are more and more medical fields where the apply of VR applications shows much better results compared with conventional therapy. The use of VR in rehabilitation has proved to be very effective, and for a practiced reason. Simulated virtual objects, environment, and events allow patients to plunge into an alternate reality, where they can interact with things and carry out actions not otherwise bachelor to them in existent life. This is ane of the very few, if not the just, ways to let patients “escape” from the restrictive hospital environment.
Moreover, VR in rehabilitation:
- allows patients with different disorders to execute actions that they cannot perform in real life due to their disabilities;
- gives an opportunity to apply more avant-garde digital rehabilitation methods as an alternative to traditional therapy, thus maximizing the effect of the rehabilitation measures;
- can be used in individualized treatment plans developed on the basis of careful cess and following case-by-case treatment goals;
- helps analyze and better understand the needs of people with disabilities in public places and at home.
So, why is Virtual Reality ideal for rehabilitation?
In order to restore functions, the rehabilitation process should come across the following requirements:
- A patient should railroad train in an environment that is as close as possible to the real earth.
- A patient should be provided with timely feedback on the progress and quality of tasks he or she performs, so that he has the opportunity to understand and correct possible mistakes and redo the exercise every bit many times as possible until he succeeds.
- A patient should exist engaged in the procedure and willing to be trained.
Using traditional methods, for example, therapeutic gymnastics, it is not always possible to follow all requirements, in contrast to VR. Virtual reality, with its capabilities to simulate practically any environment, the ability to provide fast and elaborate feedback forth with highly motivational game-like tasks is able to fill the missing components of a successful rehabilitation program.
Virtual reality is a new fashion of rehabilitation through entertainment. It guarantees maximum interest in the procedure promoting and encouraging patients to participate in treatment for maximum results.
Neurological Damages: VR Rehabilitation of Brain Injury and Stroke Survivors
Every year, more than 15 million people suffer a stroke and only a few of them manage to return to normal life afterward. The reason is obvious: stroke victims require a long and complex rehabilitation to be able to control their movements again and return to normal activity.
VR opens a broad field for the development of new rehabilitation methods for stroke and other brain injury survivors. VR affects involuntary movements produced automatically and on a hidden level. Sensory stimuli of virtual reality cause musculus contractions and are effective in training balance, proprioception, and, peculiarly, in restoring the paralyzed side of patients who take suffered a stroke.
Rehabilitation programs that employ virtual reality for recovery after a stroke demonstrate first-class results, improved psychological land, and increased motivation of patients. Hither are some VR solutions that demonstrate an innovative and individual approach to the rehabilitation of brain injury and stroke victims.
IREX is an upper and lower-extremity exercise VR solution that uses video gesture control engineering science. The system helps patients restore multiple concrete functions including balance, rotation, crouching, fine motor command, and others. The rehabilitation sessions are organized in form of a VR game resulting in a higher motivation of participants. Early studies of the IREX system showed that patients were up to 3 times more excited about rehabilitation with IREX compared to traditional rehabilitation procedures and were willing to repeat the sessions two or even iii times in a row.
Restoration of Hand Motor Functions with VR
The consequences of circulatory diseases may seriously affect the quality of life of patients. The technology of virtual reality is also successfully used to restore the motor function of the upper limbs. One of the nigh of import tasks in rehabilitation is to restore the basic motor skills of the easily, such as:
- power to reach an object;
- dispense it;
- coordinate the movements of both hands.
At that place are different causes of such disorders, but, primarily, they include muscle weakness and changes in the coordination of joint movements. Despite the fact that traditional physical rehabilitation of motor functions of hands tin hardly be replaced past virtual therapy, some positive experiences of using the latter accept already been accumulated. Though virtual reality has non found wide awarding in upper limb rehabilitation, multiple research in this domain betoken the greater efficiency of VR training compared with conventional rehabilitation, and some pioneering 3D solutions in this domain have been successfully adopted by US and European hospitals.
MindMotionPRO is a next-gen VR therapy organisation developed by a Swiss start-up MindMaze in close cooperation with neurorehabilitation experts. This system is used every bit an aid to restoring upper limb motor part as early on as 1-half-dozen weeks mail service stroke. The chief benefits of this 3D solution include:
- enhancement of patient’southward motivation with 3D virtual environments,
- immediate and illustrative feedback,
- improved outcomes through neurophysiological measurements & analysis.
MindMotion PRO has been developed over a decade by the neuroscientists and experts in VR and AR in Switzerland.
Restoring Posture and Remainder with the Aid of Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is widely used to rehabilitate patients with neurological disorders, peculiarly to restore postural stability of patients with various forms of postural insufficiency .
Rehametrics is a VR system that uses the infrared camera of Microsoft Kinect for motion recognition. This platform can be used for clinical and at-home use to treat different physical and cognitive impairments.
Rehametrics allows to train in the form of a game or do functional exercises in a virtual gym. With Rehametrics, people can train static balance skills , endurance, unipodal balance, trunk command, and more. The uniqueness of this organization is in its flexibility and possibility to adapt to private handling plans — an instructor or a doctor can adjust the range of bachelor exercises individually for each patient.
VR in Post-Trauma Rehabilitation
People who endure from pain and motility limitations afterward serious injuries at present accept a run a risk to rehabilitate with a next-gen 3D system CAREN .
This truly revolutionary, biomechanical VR system is designed for the rehabilitation of armed forces personnel and athletes who take been seriously injured to help restore walking, posture and balance, and motor command, too as recover from back pain caused by different injuries.
Both hardware and software components, including a move base, move capture, a projection screen, and the D-flow software are used by most advanced research centers and clinics to train and analyze unlike motor functions of patients. CAREN offers three default modes that can be modified further, depending on the specific needs and goals of patients in recovery.
VR in Rehabilitation of Patients with Mail service-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Immersion in virtual reality is one of the nearly effective ways to fight a post-traumatic syndrome disorder natural to militaries who experienced a traumatic daze during the hostilities. Some hospitals and armed forces bases in the US use virtual reality programs, in which state of war veterans with similar psychosomatic disorders are plunged in simulated hot spots to get through emotional turmoil once more, just in a safe virtual surround. This therapy allows releasing patients from bad experiences.
Bravemind is a virtual reality exposure therapy system used by hospitals and armed forces bases to treat soldiers with mail service-traumatic stress. The BRAVEMIND VR Exposure Therapy software has significantly decreased gainsay-related PTSD symptoms. It allows soldiers to go back to difficult memories, relive those moments again and again, but from a rubber environment, and, finally, cope with their issues once and for all.
Virtual or Conventional Rehabilitation: What’s More Effective?
The possibility of virtual reality in medicine can be rightfully considered unlimited. The power of Virtual Reality is also used by architects to build hospitals of the future, where hospital wards and rooms, operating facilities and intensive care units, as well as comprehensive rehabilitation gyms and alternative therapies, are first tested in VR. As for the use of VR engineering science in rehabilitation, we would like to note that virtual reality, like any other high-tech method, has advantages and disadvantages in comparison to traditional methods of physical rehabilitation.
One of the obvious disadvantages of VR is the loftier cost of the equipment and software required to achieve the effect of a full immersion into a virtual space. But, despite some shortcomings, virtual reality has a number of undeniable advantages. The majority of patients involved in VR therapy were much more motivated compared to traditional concrete rehabilitation. While going through rehabilitation sessions in VR, patients could endeavour on different roles and perform deportment hardly available to them in existent life. Rehabilitation procedures with the apply of Virtual Reality applications improve the emotional country of patients, which, in turn, serves equally a further positive factor on the road to recovery.
It does not at all mean that virtual reality can supervene upon traditional rehabilitation methods—of course non. However, we believe that virtual reality will before long have an important place in treatment and organically supplement conventional methods of rehabilitation.