ISVR Webinars

 

Wednesday April 21, 2021 – Brain-Computer Interface for Virtual Rehabilitation

Brain and Muscle Computer Interfaces in VR for Rehabilitation

Prof. Sook Lei, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA

Rehabilitation options for stroke survivors with severe arm motor impairments are very limited. One promising opportunity is the use of brain and muscle computer interface combined with virtual reality to offer personalization of neural/muscular targets. This presentation will focus
on how virtual rehabilitation can be used to personalize and improve stroke rehabilitation. The benefits of customized environments to help address individual needs and greater doses of movement will also be discussed. Finally, an example of an ongoing trial that combine muscle
computer interface with home training will be provided to highlight how this technology can be offered via telerehabilitation.

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Combining Virtual Reality and Brain-Computer Interfaces for Upper Limb
Rehabilitation after Stroke: Opportunities, Challenges and Lessons Learned

Prof. Sergi Bermúdez i Badia, Universidade da Madeira, Funchal, Madeira.

In this talk, I intend to discuss the approach we have been systematically following in the last 10 years to combine Virtual Reality (VR) and EEG-based Brain-Computer Interfaces for post-stroke rehabilitation. I will present the advances, challenges and lessons learned we had in the last decade. I will address different facets of the problem and will try to bring some light to the challenges we face: from embedding neuroscientific principles in the design of Virtual Environments, the selection of the most appropriate setup, interaction and gamification strategies in a BCI-driven motor rehabilitation task, as well as some EEG data processing considerations and clinical outcomes. Finally, I will present our current efforts in overcoming some of the current limitations we face in the field by combining simultaneous fMRI-EEG acquisition in VR-driven Motor Imagery neurofeedback.

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Discussion – Brain-Computer Interface for Virtual Rehabilitation

Prof. Sergi Bermúdez i Badia, Universidade da Madeira, Funchal, Madeira.

PhD candidate, Octavio Marin Pardo, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA

moderated by Tamar Weiss, University of Haifa, Israel

 

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Wednesday Feb 24, 2021 – Illusions of presence: Implications for neurorehabilitation

Virtual Reality in Clinical Psychology

Prof. Mel Slater, University of Barcelona

In virtual reality you can look around wherever you like, and still of course see virtual reality. This typically leads to illusions of presence and body ownership. Almost 30 years ago it was realised that VR can provide an interesting tool for clinical psychology, and over these last three decades there has been considerable research in this area. In this talk I will review some of this previous work which has mainly focused on anxiety disorders. I will move on from this to consider illusions of body representation. In VR if it has been so programmed you will see a life-sized virtual body replacing your own when you look down towards yourself or into a virtual mirror. You are likely then to have the perceptual illusion that the virtual body is yours, even though you know for sure that it is not. This is referred to as a body ownership illusion. Here I will describe this illusion, and give examples of how this has been used in the context of clinical psychology.

 

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Virtual Embodiment in Virtual Environments for Pain Management

Prof. Maria V. Sanchez-Vives, Institute of Biomedical Investigations August Pi i Sunyer, Barcelona, Spain

A significant body of experimental evidence has demonstrated that it is possible to induce the illusion of ownership of a fake limb or even an entire fake body using multisensory correlations. Recently, immersive virtual reality has allowed users to experience the same sensations of ownership over a virtual body inside an immersive virtual environment, which in turn allows virtual reality users to have the feeling of being “embodied” in a virtual body. Using such virtual embodiment to manipulate body perception is starting to be extensively investigated and may have clinical implications for conditions that involve altered body image such as chronic pain. I will review experimental and clinical studies that have explored the manipulation of an embodied virtual body in immersive virtual reality for both experimental and clinical pain relief. We discuss the current state of the art, as well as the challenges faced by, and ideas for, future research. Finally, I will discuss the potentialities of using an embodied virtual body in immersive virtual reality in the field of neurorehabilitation, specifically in the field of pain.

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Discussion – Illusions of presence: Implications for neurorehabilitation

Prof. Maria V. Sanchez-Vives,  Institute of Biomedical Investigations August Pi i Sunyer, Barcelona, Spain

Prof. Mel Slater, University of Barcelona

moderated by Tamar Weiss, University of Haifa, Israel

 

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ISVR Early career investigator award 2020

Technology for motor performance: from facilitator to barrier and back

Dr. Tal Krasovsky

In recognition and acknowledgement of outstanding contributions by early career scientists whose research relates to virtual rehabilitation.
 
– BSc Computer science and French literature (Tel Aviv University)
– MSc Physical Therapy (Tel Aviv University)
– PhD Rehabilitation Science (Prof. Mindy Levin, McGill University)
– Post-doctoral fellowship Occupational Therapy (Prof. Tamar Weiss, Dr. Rachel Kizony, University of Haifa)
– Senior lecturer at the Physical Therapy Department (Haifa) and researcher at the Pediatric Rehabilitation Department (Sheba medical center) 
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ISVR Webinar Wednesday Oct 28, 2020 – Terminology, Pandemic and Human-Avatar Interactions

On October 28, 2020, the International Society of Virtual Rehabilitation presented its first online symposium. The symposium consisted of three 30 minute presentations on topics of current interest to the virtual rehabilitation community. In one of the presentations, Mindy Levin from McGill University and Judy Deutsch from Rutgers University made a presentation entitled “From video games to interactive software applications – cutting through the virtual reality terminology”. The presentation described the evolution and definitions of virtual reality, videogames and exergames for rehabilitation with the ultimate goal of embarking on the road of consensus on the use of this terminology in the field and provided definitions summarized in the boxes below. Building consensus in terms of definitions and terminology is important to facilitate communication within the interdisciplinary field of virtual rehabilitation. After a brief historical perspective of the development of virtual rehabilitation and exergames was illustrated, Dr. Levin discussed the concepts of immersion and presence and how they are applied in VR while Dr. Deutsch shared a brief history of video games and exergames and how their terminology is intertwined with virtual reality. The terms defined in Dr. Deutsch’s section included video games, commercial off-the-shelf video game (COTS), interactive video game, serious games, serious digital health games and active games and exergames. In the discussion that ensured, it was agreed that further efforts are needed to reach consensus in the terminology used in virtual rehabilitation and exergame applications.

 

Virtual rehabilitation for coping with pandemic: success stories and clinical implications

Marika Demers, University of Southern California, USA
Roberto Llorens, Universitat Politecnica de Valencia, Spain

In their talk, Marika Demers and Roberto Llorens described their experiences with telerehabilitation during the past months as a response to the global pandemic. The past months taught us that people around the world could develop creative solutions to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their presentation focused on how virtual rehabilitation could be one creative and evidence-based solution to deliver rehabilitation interventions and drive a positive impact for people with disabilities. Specifically, they described the unique benefits of virtual rehabilitation offered synchronously or asynchronously with telerehabilitation to implement home-delivered rehabilitative interventions. We also presented two success stories for coping with the pandemic: 1) Virtual-reality based telerehabilitation initiative to improve balance recovery after stroke and 2) Remote assessment of posture and gait characteristics. The results suggest that a virtual rehabilitation with telerehabilitation is well-accepted by stroke survivors and was not inferior to in-person treatment to address balance impairments. Open-source assessment tools using commercial gaming accessories also show promise for remote assessment of posture and gait in stroke survivors. The presentation concluded with resources to support clinicians, as they play a crucial role in the selection of appropriate platform and games to meet individual rehabilitation needs.

 

Human-avatar interactions in virtual environments: opportunities and challenges for locomotor assessment and training

Anouk Lamontagne and Sean D. Lynch

McGill University, Montreal, Canad and Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital Research Site – CISSS de Laval, Laval, Canada Virtual reality is an increasingly validated approach for the study of human interactions in controlled but ecological environments, and for the clinical assessment and training of locomotor disorders for those that would otherwise be at risk in a real-world setting. The presentation focussed on two types of interaction, namely the interactions with avatars and those with virtual pedestrians. Avatars are a representation of one’s self, which can be presented to a participant in real-time that in turn allows for feedback of one’s own performance. Potential challenges of self-representation training can include the different viewing perspectives of an avatar and the contribution of different sensory modalities. Initial findings collected in stoke survivors with post-stroke gait asymmetry suggest that certain participant profiles benefit from a visual avatar presented in the side view to enhance their symmetry of gait. In addition, most participants appear to experience further benefit in gait symmetry when exposed to multimodal sensory feedback (avatars presented in the combined visual and auditory modality) compared to avatars presented in the auditory or visual modality in isolation. With this knowledge pertaining to the quality of feedback and its benefits, future directions can consider the potential benefits of repeated exposure. The second type of interaction concerns virtual humans that represent other pedestrians from a typical community setting. Current work has shown how behaviours of navigation are preserved within virtual reality and lead to similar adaptations to those observed in the physical world. Such validation has presented new horizons to investigate more complex community settings that include the avoidance of collisions with pedestrians, the effects of additional cognitive tasks, and the role of agent-specific gait characteristics during collision avoidance tasks. We reflect on the potential opportunities and challenges from the addition of integrated eye-tracking technology with virtual reality headsets to how virtual pedestrian can aid locomotor assessment and training for populations with gait disorders.