First-person immersive virtual reality to improve motor learning and neurorehabilitation

The aim of this project is to explore how the immersion of neurologic patients in a virtual environment (VE) can be employed to improve current rehabilitation interventions.

We evaluate how a controlled richness level of the VE (e.g., details/complexity levels, elements quantity, elements diversity) can be adapted to allow patients with severe cognitive impairments to focus on their exercises without distractors while allowing patients with mild cognitive disorders to be more stimulated and avoid boredom.

We also study how adding game mechanisms (e.g., reward system, level progression, storyline/storytelling) to IVR rehabilitation exercises can increase patients’ motivation. Nowadays, the gap between conventional therapy and gamified exercises (e.g., differences in the movement feedback or the amount of cognitive effort) makes their comparison challenging. We aim to evaluate the addition of game mechanisms to IVR tasks that contain movement representations that resemble, as close as possible, conventional therapy exercises.

The culmination of this projects is the development of an immersive serious game based on our findings on VE richness and game mechanism to be employed in rehabilitation of brain injured patients.