Virtual Rehabilitation Using Oculus Rift Designed to Aid Stroke Therapy Patients

The TechSandbox competition, coordinated by the University of Washington’s Center for Sensoriomotor Neural Engineering (CSNE), in Seattle, US, was so successful in its inaugural year that the competition now takes place within the framework of a two-credit-hour course offered through the department of bioengineering.  This year’s winning team developed a virtual reality game that provides real-time feedback to patients undergoing stroke therapy.

Team vHAB — including two graduate students in bioengineering, an undergraduate in bioengineering, and an undergraduate in neurobiology and behavior — created six games for stroke therapy patients. vHAB uses muscle activity sensors to measure and speed up patient motor recovery, and delivers the data into electronic medical records so doctors can measure stages of both clinical and at-home recovery.

Tyler Libey demonstrates vHAB, a virtual reality game for stroke therapy patients involving muscle activity sensors to measure and speed up patient motor recovery.

“The competition began as a way to engage students and faculty, and entice them to visit the center and experience, hands-on, the equipment that is available,” says Lise Johnson, researcher and education manager at the US National Science Foundation-funded CSNE. “As the course has evolved, we’ve seen the students focus on wearable technologies, consumer devices, and medical devices; our panel of industry liaison judges has been very impressed by what the students are capable of.” — by Amber Harmon