A virtual reality platform has been developed in the US to assist the rehabilitation of stroke survivors.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, developed a 3D virtual reality platform which displays photorealistic human hands moving in coordination with a patient’s thoughts.
The system was trialled on six survivors of hemiparetic stroke, the group made up of two survivors of cortical stroke and four survivors of basal ganglia stroke. Their performance was compared against four control individuals who had not suffered a stroke. Participants viewed the stimulus using 3-D anaglyph glasses that produced an illusion of seeing one’s arms through the lid of the stimulus box.
Participants performed 10 3-minute trials per session. Some sessions were on the 3-D virtual reality platform and some were on a standard cursor feedback control task.
It was found that control accuracies for a binary classification task, such as reaching left or right, were as high as 81% using the virtual reality system and 87.4% using the cursor system.
These researchers state that these findings support the idea that stroke survivors can use a brain-computer interface to successfully learn to modulate their specific neural activity. It was also found to be a highly successful method of maintaining user engagement and motivating individuals to progress with their therapy.
Whilst further work is needed, the researchers hope that this research will contribute to the idea of affordable and powerful personal computing platforms as a form of home rehabilitation for patients.
Researcher Alexander Doud, MS, said: “Our goals as a research team have been to produce these systems with largely open source components or, when that is not possible, with highly affordable technology to ensure that the path to clinical utility is not unnecessarily complicated by high costs”.
Original Source Healio
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