Virtual reality game research gets boost at CMU - WNEM TV 5

Virtual reality game research gets boost at CMU

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Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation has given a one-year grant to Central Michigan University to expand its research on the use of virtual reality game-based physical therapy to help patients overcome brain injury.

The grant follows recent CMU and U.S. Department of Defense efforts using gaming technology to help American soldiers recuperate from brain injury.

Although a relatively new technology, CMU physical therapy professor Ksenia Ustinova says VR game-based therapy has several advantages over conventional physical therapy.
"Performing real-world tasks in a regular therapeutic setting is limited by the client's ability, frustration and lack of success, which can demotivate the patient from practicing," Ustinova said. "Game-based rehabilitation offers a variety of scenarios like skiing or crossing the street in which mistakes do not pose any risk to the participant and criteria for performance success can be scaled according to the individual's ability."
CMU claims to be a leader in the relatively new use of virtual reality therapy. In 2010, a team of faculty, staff and students led a $391,000 U.S. Department of Defense grant effort to design a virtual reality gaming therapy to help soldiers rehabilitate from traumatic brain injuries. That team was a joint effort among CMU's physical therapy, computer science, information technology and psychology departments.

The $84,000 grant was awarded to CMU in support of result from CMU's study will improve the quality and outcomes of treatment, increase access to rehabilitation, and thereby facilitate restoration of coordination of abnormalities in this population.

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