We’ve reported on a number of different applications for virtual reality (VR) in the field of healthcare, in a lot of cases these are connected to rehabilitation. Today we have news of another development this time in the southern hemisphere and Australia. South Australian company Add-Life Technologies has revealed a new program that aids traditional recovery exercises amongst stroke victims with the additional assistance of VR technologies, in this instance the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD).
“It is primarily for people who have suffered strokes and helps them to increase their independence.” explained the company’s Managing Director Dr. Tony Aitchison. “What we found in research is that people obtain their maximum independence 25 weeks after they suffered their stroke but then start to decline because they aren’t able to continue their rehab at home or they stop going to the clinic .Some people get bored and tired of monotonous exercises, like opening and closing a drawer, which is a traditional method. We have developed a VR program that they do the same sort of exercises but in a fun and exciting way.”
According to the World Health Organisation more than 15 million people suffer a stroke every year and about 5 million people die as a result with another 5 million left permanently disabled.
Caused owing to a reduction in circulation to the brain, often due to a clot or burst blood vessel, strokes often lead to some form of impairment owing to the damage to the brain. The course, it is claimed, will assist in aspects such as co-ordination and motor skills as well as other areas that can be affected, such as with the ability to solve problems.
At a discounted cost of $2400 (AUD) users receive an Oculus Rift, compatible computer equipment and the required software as well as access to an online tracking system to help measure progress. Although the company also points out that this will enevitably work out cheaper for patients as they will not be dependant on visiting a clinic and continue to work on their recovery unimpeded for so long as it is necessary.
Pre-orders have begun on the Add-Life’s website, with a commercial launch scheduled for this September. VRFocus will continue to bring you more news relating to uses of VR and also Augmented Reality (AR) in the fields of health, education, engineering and more.