In the past, studies into stroke rehabilitation have used restriction of movement in order to encourage recovery. The Rehabilitation Gaming System (RGS) takes a new approach. It is a virtual reality platform with a difference, putting to use new technologies that recognise the positive contribution confidence can make.
A powerful new tool in stroke recovery, RGS focuses on restoring patients’ confidence through positive self-perception. A Microsoft Kinect Sensor allows users to control a virtual body via their own movements, seen from a first-person perspective, with which they perform tasks in a virtual world.
With the help of the system, the participant’s underused arm appears faster and more accurate, providing a critical boost to the user’s self-confidence. The amplifications are introduced gradually and then suppressed to make sure participants are unaware of the manipulations – this causes them to use the recovering limb spontaneously and more frequently. By emphasising confidence building instead of limiting movement, the system paves the way for more virtuous cycles of recovery in the future.
Belén Rubio Ballester, Lead author Laboratory of Synthetic, Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems (SPECS) Universitat Pompeu Fabra
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