Virtual reality for people who have had a stroke

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Researchers in the Multimedia Applications and ICTs Laboratory (LAM UPC) and the Simulation and Movement Analysis Lab (SIMMA Lab), in collaboration with the Associació Diversitat Funcional d’Osona (Functional Diversity Association of Osona, ADFO), have developed two multimedia applications for motor and cognitive rehabilitation of people with functional diversity. The focus is patients who have had a stroke.


The two multimedia applications that have been developed are centred on rehabilitation of motor and cognitive aspects. For motor rehabilitation, the application uses an avatar or virtual character to guide the patient through rehabilitation exercises. Various sensors enable the movements of the person to be followed and a kinematic analysis is carried out (calculation of angles and measurement of asymmetry) to verify if the movements indicated by the avatar are being followed correctly. This application can be displayed on the screen of a computer or through virtual reality glasses. The results are stored on a database so that a team of physiotherapists can interpret them. The application’s graphic interface was developed by the LAM, while the SIMMA Lab was responsible for the Integration of the data capture system.

For cognitive rehabilitation, LAM researchers have created an application that simulates shopping in a supermarket through an immersive virtual reality environment. In this way, the patient works on the main cognitive capacities (memory, coordination and attention) in a common, everyday environment.

Professionals from the Associació Diversitat Funcional d’Osona (ADFO) advised the project researchers on the physical and cognitive effects of a stroke and selected exercises to develop, considering parameters such as angles of mobility or information to collect and assess.

The work undertaken in this first stage led in May to a trial of the technology with people affected by a stroke. This session served to identify aspects such as the patients’ understanding of how the applications worked or the difficulty of the exercises that were proposed. Now, the researchers are assessing this information to improve the applications. The aim is to undertake a second trial to fine-tune the technology before it is transferred to the market.

The project has also been supported by the company VISYON.

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