Reported by Patrice L. (Tamar) Weiss
ISVR Board Member
Chair, ICVR Steering Committee
Although the International Society for Virtual Rehabilitation and the International Conference for Virtual Rehabilitation did not take part as a participating conference in RehabWeek 2019, we did present a workshop and scientific panel. The workshop: “Application of current findings from virtual reality research to clinical intervention” was attended by about 30 conference registrants who ranged from researchers to graduate students, clinicians, and several technology developers. The workshop goals were to review the strengths and weaknesses of the current treatment approaches with a focus on how the experimental results in virtual reality studies may be used to (1) modify current clinical interventions, (2) support new clinical approaches and (3) support the use of virtual reality as a clinical or diagnostic tool. Phillippe Archambault, Emily Keshner and Tamar Weiss presented overviews of VR technology as it relates to rehabilitation with a specific focus on VR applications for wheelchair mobility to address how they can support assessment and training of wheelchair driving skills, psychophysical aspect of VR and its application to rehabilitation and personalization of motion-capture-based virtual gaming platforms to address issues related to motor and cognitive intervention for children with disabilities. We had several “hands-on” demo sessions and concluded with a discussion on how to integrate VR in clinical settings: How to choose? How to use it? Mindy Levin had been scheduled to participate but was unable to attend for personal reasons.
The panel session consisted of 4 scientific presentations attended by about 100 people. Tamar Weiss and Emily Keshner presented a talk on “Defining Virtual Reality-Based Rehabilitation as a Field of Study” where they explored the evolving science of virtual reality-based rehabilitation that has moved from a predominantly technology development focus to one that focuses on how technology can support rehabilitation principles and outcomes. Rachel Proffitt spoke about “Using Video Games and Virtual Reality for Stroke Rehabilitation” in which she discussed how to use both off-the-shelf and customized virtual reality and video game interventions for stroke rehabilitation. Marika Demers presented work by her and Mindy Levin on “Using Virtual Reality for Upper Limb Rehabilitation after a Stroke: A Clinician’s Perspective” where they explored how virtual reality interventions for rehabilitation should be based on principles of motor learning and identified the facilitators, barriers, and strategies to the implementation and sustainability of virtual reality interventions in clinical practice. Finally, Sergi Bermúdez i Badia presented a talk on the “Design and Validation of Ecologically Valid Cognitive-Motor Rehabilitation Systems” focusing on a framework for the creation of personalized cognitive rehabilitation tasks based on a participatory design strategy that allows the generation of training tasks parameterized according to patients’ needs in multiple cognitive domains.
There were a number of additional talks at other RehabWeek 2019 panels including a presentation by ISVR Board member Danielle Levac on “Virtual reality as a Russian doll: exploring the ‘active ingredients’ of motor learning and transfer in virtual environments” and a poster by ISVR member Rachel Proffitt on “Daily Activity Recognition and Assessment System for Stroke Rehabilitation”. Rachel was awarded 6th place for her poster, submitted under the ACRM track. Thus applications of VR in rehabilitation were well represented at the conference. We anticipate a continued presence at future RehabWeek activities either as a fully participating conference or as organizers of special workshops and panels.
(Original article source: ISVR Newsletter Issue 16)