Immersive Virtual Reality
The addition of virtual reality during robotic training has been shown to improve patients’ motivation. Yet, the virtual reality environments currently employed in rehabilitation practice are displayed on 2D screens. This transformation removes the focus of attention from the real movement and results in games that are cognitively too demanding for brain-injured patients. We aim to explore how the use of augmented and immersive virtual reality can improve motor learning and neurorehabilitation.
Current Research Projects
Novel and commercially available head-mounted displays have a great potential to realistically mimic the patient’s limb in a highly immersive training environment. In this immersive training environment, the symbolic virtual representation may become a self-representation (i.e., avatar), promoting the feeling of body ownership over the virtual limb. In the brain, body ownership and motor control share neural correlates. In this project, we investigate if body ownership over an avatar in virtual training environments could be used as a tool to increase neuroplasticity and motor learning in neurorehabilitation.
In this project, we aim to “trick the brain” using immersive virtual reality and investigate if multisensory feedback modulating the physical properties of an embodied avatar influences motor brain networks and performance. Alternating the self-perception of the body using immersive VR may have important applications for neurorehabilitation: For example, embodying a (virtual) stone arm may increase the physical effort patients invest during the training and boost motor recovery.