Tele-Rehabilitation Uses Virtual Reality

Scientists at the Guttmann Institute and the Department of Software of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) have designed a three-dimensional space to help these people improve their functional capacity in daily life activities. The programme is called Cognitive Rehabilitation Platform (PREVIRNEC).

It enables therapists to personalize treatment plans. The aim of this project is to use software to meet the treatment needs of patients with acquired brain damage. The software promotes the rehabilitation of affected cognitive functions by representing everyday, real life situations in a virtual world.

All of the software that has been designed has two applications. It offers patients a three-dimensional IT platform on which to carry out their cognitive rehabilitation exercises. In addition, it provides a web interface for the therapist, through which different exercises can be programmed for each individual, their performance monitored, their progress assessed and their rehabilitation treatment plan adapted, if required.

Currently, the main limitation of conventional cognitive rehabilitation is the difference between the types of activities used in therapeutic sessions and the real difficulties that patients face after treatment. The introduction of virtual reality applications helps to reduce this gap between clinical practice and everyday life.

In this innovative proposal, the contribution of the UPC’s Computer Science in Engineering Group (GIE) involves developing virtual realities of everyday spaces, for example the kitchen, in which the patient has to carry out several tasks, such as putting things away in the fridge or preparing a salad. These kinds of tasks, which are difficult to simulate in a clinical setting, can help patients to work on their ability to plan, sequence, categorize or use their memory.; Source: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya