Jan 24, 2007
Robotics and virtual reality
Robotics and virtual reality: a perfect marriage for motor control research and rehabilitation.
Assist Technol. 2006;18(2):181-95
Authors: Patton J, Dawe G, Scharver C, Mussa-Ivaldi F, Kenyon R
This article's goal is to outline the motivations, progress, and future objectives for the development of a state-of-the-art device that allows humans to visualize and feel synthetic objects superimposed on the physical world. The programming flexibility of these devices allows for a variety of scientific questions to be answered in psychology, neurophysiology, rehabilitation, haptics, and automatic control. The benefits are most probable in rehabilitation of brain-injured patients, for whom the costs are high, therapist time is limited, and repetitive practice of movements has been shown to be beneficial. Moreover, beyond simple therapy that guides, strengthens, or stretches, the technology affords a variety of exciting potential techniques that can combine our knowledge of the nervous system with the tireless, precise, and swift capabilities of a robot. Because this is a prototype, the system will also guide new experimental methods by probing the levels of quality that are necessary for future design cycles and related technology. Very important to the project is the early and intimate involvement of therapists and other clinicians in the design of software and its user interface. Inevitably, it should also lead the way to new modes of practice and to the commercialization of haptic/graphic systems.