Virtual Reality Limbs

A real-time virtual reality system for self-directed upper limb rehabilitation

This project combiness stimulating virtual reality environments with real-time biomechanical data from wearable sensors to facilitate highly motivating and personalised rehabilitation for stroke and brain injury patients.

Stroke and traumatic brain injury represent the leading causes of permanent disability in adult Australians. This results in debilitating upper-extremity impairment as a result of weakness and spasticity in up to 80% of survivors.

Inpatient rehabilitation is highly time-consuming, costly, and associated with poor patient mental health, with a significant burden placed on caregivers and support agencies.

This interdisciplinary project bringss together unique expertise in biomechanics (Department of Biomedical Engineering), clinical stroke management (Department of Medicine) and software development (including VR support at MNSI).

The aim is to create a set of low-cost virtual reality tools that that will improve the way personalised upper limb rehabilitation and exercise therapy is executed, and facilitate goal-directed rehabilitation treatment in the home or clinic.

This aim will be achieved by combining stimulating virtual reality environments through a VR-headset with engaging augmented-reality 3D video games to motivate upper limb motion tasks.

Low-cost wearable sensors including motion and electromyography (EMG), will be employed to provide real-time biomechanical feedback during therapy, including visualisation of limb motion, muscle loading and task performance.

Biomechanical data will be integrated into the video games, displayed in the virtual environment, and used to create a highly motivating and enjoyable therapy. Biomechanical data will be logged for access and use by clinicians to monitor patient performance and compliance.

Research Team

Funding

Seed Funding 2017