Virtual-Reality-Based Rehabilitation Technology

A special issue of Electronics (ISSN 2079-9292). This special issue belongs to the section "Bioelectronics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 18470

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Antonino Naro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IRCCS Centro Neurolesi Bonino Pulejo, 98124 Messina, Italy
Interests: neurophysiology of robot-aided neurorehabilitation; neurophysiology of disorders of consciousness

Special Issue Information

The application of virtual-reality-based rehabilitation technology (VRRT) is a growing interdisciplinary field conjugating new scientific discovery and innovative technological advancement. The use of VR in rehabilitation is well-documented as useful, feasible, and safe. However, more research is needed to transform VR according to a clinical standard for rehabilitation. This Special Issue aims to present the most recent advances in rehabilitation applications of VR, as well as their implications for future patient care. The objective of the current Special Issue is to collect studies dealing with VR-based neurologic rehabilitation, with a focus on innovative tools, neurophysiological correlates of VR application in the clinical setting, and VR-based clinical trials. Any type of contribution (original research, review, brief reports, etc.) are welcome. It is our hope that exploring the field of VR-based rehabilitation will reveal more about how technology can support rehabilitation principles and outcomes.

Dr. Antonino Naro
Dr. Rocco Salvatore Calabrò
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • virtual-reality-based rehabilitation technology
  • virtual reality
  • rehabilitation
  • brain injury
  • neurophysiology

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 3091 KiB  
Article
Development and Preliminary Testing of a System for the Multimodal Analysis of Gait Training in a Virtual Reality Environment
Electronics 2021, 10(22), 2838; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10222838 - 18 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1820
Abstract
Gait training in a virtual reality (VR) environment is promising for children affected by different disorders. However, the efficacy of VR therapy is still under debate, and more research is needed to clarify its effects on clinical conditions. The combination of VR with [...] Read more.
Gait training in a virtual reality (VR) environment is promising for children affected by different disorders. However, the efficacy of VR therapy is still under debate, and more research is needed to clarify its effects on clinical conditions. The combination of VR with neuroimaging methods, such as the electroencephalography (EEG), might help in answering this need. The aim of the present work was to set up and test a system for the multimodal analysis of the gait pattern during VR gait training of pediatric populations by analyzing the EEG correlates as well as the kinematic and kinetic parameters of the gait. An EEG system was integrated with the Gait Real-time Analysis Interactive Lab (GRAIL). We developed and validated, with healthy adults (n = 5) and children (n = 4, healthy or affected by cerebral palsy (CP)), the hardware and software integration of the two systems, which allowed the synchronization of the acquired signals and a reliable identification of the initial contact (IC) of each gait cycle, showing good sensitivity and critical success index values. Moreover, we tested the multimodal acquisition by successfully analyzing EEG data and kinematic and kinetic parameters of one healthy child and one child with CP. This system gives the possibility of monitoring the effect of the VR therapy and studying the neural correlates of gait. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual-Reality-Based Rehabilitation Technology)
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14 pages, 974 KiB  
Article
The Pilot Study of the Hazard Perception Test for Evaluation of the Driver’s Skill Using Virtual Reality
Electronics 2021, 10(9), 1114; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10091114 - 08 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2824
Abstract
Background: Although various technologies are used to evaluate driving skill, there are some limitations such as the limited range of the monitor and the possible risk of causing cybersickness. The purpose of this study is to investigate differences in the hazard perception and [...] Read more.
Background: Although various technologies are used to evaluate driving skill, there are some limitations such as the limited range of the monitor and the possible risk of causing cybersickness. The purpose of this study is to investigate differences in the hazard perception and cybersickness experienced between novice and experienced drivers measured in a VR hazard perception test with a head-mounted display (HMD). Methods: The novice (n = 32) and the experienced drivers (n = 36) participated in the hazard perception test through the VR of an HMD. Results: The total number of identified hazards was 1071 in the novice drivers and 1376 in the experienced drivers. Two of the hazards appeared to be only identifiable through the HMD. A chi-square test revealed that experienced drivers were more likely to identify the hazards than the novice drivers (p < 0.05). The novice drivers appeared to identify “hazard prediction of the current behavior of other road users” more than other hazard types, unlike the experienced group. The Simulator Sickness Questionnaire scores indicated no significant difference in the different age or gender groups (p > 0.05). Conclusion: Our results suggest that the VR hazard perception test may be useful for evaluating patients’ driving skills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual-Reality-Based Rehabilitation Technology)
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Review

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17 pages, 362 KiB  
Review
What Do We Know about The Use of Virtual Reality in the Rehabilitation Field? A Brief Overview
Electronics 2021, 10(9), 1042; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10091042 - 28 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3243
Abstract
Over the past two decades, virtual reality technology (VRT)-based rehabilitation has been increasingly examined and applied to assist patient recovery in the physical and cognitive domains. The advantages of the use of VRT in the neurorehabilitation field consist of the possibility of training [...] Read more.
Over the past two decades, virtual reality technology (VRT)-based rehabilitation has been increasingly examined and applied to assist patient recovery in the physical and cognitive domains. The advantages of the use of VRT in the neurorehabilitation field consist of the possibility of training an impaired function as a way to stimulate neuron reorganization (to maximize motor learning and neuroplasticity) and restoring and regaining functions and abilities by interacting with a safe and nonthreatening yet realistic virtual reality environment (VRE). Furthermore, VREs can be tailored to patient needs and provide personalized feedback on performance. VREs may also support cognitive training and increases patient motivation and enjoyment. Despite these potential advantages, there are inconclusive data about the usefulness of VRT in neurorehabilitation settings, and some issues on feasibility and safety remain to be ascertained for some neurological populations. The present brief overview aims to summarize the available literature on VRT applications in neurorehabilitation settings, along with discussing the pros and cons of VR and introducing the practical issues for research. The available studies on VRT for rehabilitation purposes over the past two decades have been mostly preliminary and feature small sample sizes. Furthermore, the studies dealing with VRT as an assessment method are more numerous than those harnessing VRT as a training method; however, the reviewed studies show the great potential of VRT in rehabilitation. A broad application of VRT is foreseeable in the near future due to the increasing availability of low-cost VR devices and the possibility of personalizing VR settings and the use of VR at home, thus actively contributing to reducing healthcare costs and improving rehabilitation outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual-Reality-Based Rehabilitation Technology)
16 pages, 2200 KiB  
Review
The Effect of Virtual Reality Rehabilitation on Balance in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Electronics 2021, 10(9), 1003; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10091003 - 22 Apr 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4141
Abstract
As a popular method, virtual reality (VR) is still controversial in its effect on the balance function of patients with Parkinson’s disease. This systematic review aims to discuss such effects of VR and to compare it with that resulting from traditional therapies. A [...] Read more.
As a popular method, virtual reality (VR) is still controversial in its effect on the balance function of patients with Parkinson’s disease. This systematic review aims to discuss such effects of VR and to compare it with that resulting from traditional therapies. A comprehensive search was conducted for randomized controlled trials published from 2000 to 2020 through the following databases: PubMed, Web of Science, CINAHL, Embase, Cochrane Library. Fifteen articles were included for the systematic review. An evaluation on their methodological qualities was performed using the PEDro scale, followed by an assessment of their risk of biases in accordance with the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions for quality assessment. In terms of dynamic balance, the BBS score of the VR group was significantly improved when compared with the control group (SMD = 0.52, 95% CI = 0.31–0.73). However, no significant difference was observed between the two groups on TUG (SMD = −0.26; 95% CI = −0.62–0.1; p = 0.16). Besides, the VR group also showed better results in improving patients’ static balance, balance confidence, and quality of life. A funnel plot was created to investigate the effects of each study included in the meta-analysis in order to identify any existing publication bias. This systematic review shows that the application of VR leads to more significant improvement in the balance of patients with Parkinson’s disease than having them perform traditional exercises. It can be used as an auxiliary method of rehabilitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual-Reality-Based Rehabilitation Technology)
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17 pages, 1337 KiB  
Review
Meta-Analysis on the Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Cognitive Training (VRCT) and Computer-Based Cognitive Training (CBCT) for Individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
Electronics 2020, 9(12), 2185; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics9122185 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2982
Abstract
This meta-analysis aims to assess the effectiveness of virtual reality cognitive training (VRCT) and conventional computer-based cognitive training (CBCT) in five specific cognitive domains (i.e., global cognitive function (GCF), memory (Mem), executive function (EF), language (Lang) and visuospatial skills (VS)) of individuals with [...] Read more.
This meta-analysis aims to assess the effectiveness of virtual reality cognitive training (VRCT) and conventional computer-based cognitive training (CBCT) in five specific cognitive domains (i.e., global cognitive function (GCF), memory (Mem), executive function (EF), language (Lang) and visuospatial skills (VS)) of individuals with mild cognitive impairment. A total of 320 studies were yielded from five electronic databases. Eighteen randomized controlled trials met the PRISMA criteria, with 10 related to VRCT and 8 related to CBCT. A random-effect model was used in determining the main effect of cognitive training in five specific cognitive domains. VRCT provided the largest effect size on VS and Lang while the smallest on EF. CBCT provided the largest effect size on Mem and Lang while the smallest on EF. VRCT and CBCT generate an opposite effect on VS. VRCT outweighs CBCT in treatment effectiveness of GCF, EF, Lang and VS. More immersive and interactive experiences in VRCT may help individuals with MCI better engage in real-life experiences, which supports skill generalization and reduces external distractions. CBCT tends to improve Mem but no definite conclusions can be made. Further investigation with more stringent research design and specific protocol are required to reach consensus about the optimum intervention regime. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual-Reality-Based Rehabilitation Technology)
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Other

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7 pages, 617 KiB  
Commentary
Electrophysiological Correlates of Virtual-Reality Applications in the Rehabilitation Setting: New Perspectives for Stroke Patients
Electronics 2021, 10(7), 836; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10070836 - 01 Apr 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2493
Abstract
Here we reviewed the last evidence on the application of electroencephalography (EEG) as a non-invasive and portable neuroimaging method useful to extract hallmarks of neuroplasticity induced by virtual reality (VR) rehabilitation approaches in stroke patients. In the neurorehabilitation context, VR training has been [...] Read more.
Here we reviewed the last evidence on the application of electroencephalography (EEG) as a non-invasive and portable neuroimaging method useful to extract hallmarks of neuroplasticity induced by virtual reality (VR) rehabilitation approaches in stroke patients. In the neurorehabilitation context, VR training has been used extensively to hamper the effects of motor treatments on the stroke’s brain. The concept underlying VR therapy is to improve brain plasticity by engaging users in multisensory training. In this narrative review, we present the key concepts of VR protocols applied to the rehabilitation of stroke patients and critically discuss challenges of EEG signal when applied as endophenotype to extract neurophysiological markers. When VR technology was applied to magnify the effects of treatments on motor recovery, significant EEG-related neural improvements were detected in the primary motor circuit either in terms of power spectral density or as time-frequency domains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual-Reality-Based Rehabilitation Technology)
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