The RGS will develop and test a novel virtual reality based system for the rehabilitation at home of motor disabilities of the upper extremities of elderly people after stroke.
The Rehabilitation Gaming System (RGS) is a novel and highly innovative ICT Virtual Reality (VR) tool for the rehabilitation of motor deficits of the upper extremities after a brain lesion due to stroke. The system deploys an individualised and specific deficit oriented game training that combines movement execution with the observation of a correlated action by virtual limbs that are displayed in a first-person perspective. The RGS is based on the neurobiological considerations that plasticity of the brain remains motor areas affected by stroke remains throughout life and can thus be utilised to achieve functional reorganisation of areas affected by stroke by means of the activation of secondary motor areas such as the so called mirror neurons system. As a multi-level adaptive tool, the RGS provides a task oriented game training with individualised graded complexity. Additionally, the system retains qualitative and quantitative information of the performance of the subject/player during the tasks, hence allowing for a detailed assessment of the deficits of the patient player and their recovery dynamics. The RGS proof of concept is currently being evaluated in a randomised clinical study and the initial results with 14 patients have demonstrated positive impact.
The overall project objective of the Rehabilitation Gaming System (RGS) is to develop and validate a novel and highly innovative ICT Virtual Reality (VR) tool for the rehabilitation of motor deficits of the upper extremities after a brain lesion due to stroke. The specific project objectives are as follows:
Development and integration of the hardware and software for the RGS including the rehabilitation scenarios, social network capability, user interface and the information management system.
Development of user centred and neuroscientifically grounded diagnostic and training scenarios;
Evaluation of the clinical impact of the RGS at the functional and neuronal ;
Gathering of user requirements involving all the stakeholders using the RGS system and evaluation of the usability and accessibility of RGS.
Establish the theoretical and empirical foundation of the rehabilitation and diagnostics methods implemented in the system.
Expected results and impact
The RGS will directly improve the Quality of Life of the increasing number of Elderly people in need of rehabilitation for motor deficits of their upper extremities; and improve accessibility to healthcare therapy/home assistance and to a novel and highly innovative ICT based product. We are now listing the most important aspects:
Increase autonomy. The RGS allows the Elderly person to design their own rehabilitation schedule and work as much as they want at home, in coordination with other everyday life activities and in consultation with their health care provider. As explained in the introduction of this section, the Elderly person will have access to tele-rehabilitation, in the sense that the exercises will be done from home and the Secondary End User (healthcare provider) will be able to remotely follow their progress. If there are any abnormalities during their rehabilitation, an alert will automatically be sent to the healthcare provider.
Empowerment and more equal access to services. Additionally, the low cost of the system renders it an affordable solution for the target population of end users.
Accessibility, Usability and End User acceptance. The RGS is designed thinking about the End User and their needs, i.e. rehabilitation of upper extremities motor skill deficits, cognitive skills, usability and unfamiliarity for most End Users with the use of PCs.
End User impact and Social relevance. The RGS will also allow elderly people to be direct users of technologies still in their initial market deployment phase. Furthermore, the RGS will give them access to a new world of VR computer based training scenarios.
Access to ICT and an ICT novel product. The Rehabilitation Gaming System (RGS) will allow the elderly person to take advantage of a novel ICT based product that allows the End User to efficiently manage their chronic long term condition by having access to individualised rehabilitation therapy from home in the shape of a VR based training.