From their hospital bed, patients can reach islands, parks or even mountains in an instant. In play form, they perform simple tasks while exercising, for example the area of the shoulder joint. This addition to modern classical medicine is also used at the Faculty Hospital in Pilsen. Behind the idea is the company Pilsen VR Medical, which is also gaining success around the world. For example, he reached the final of the prestigious VR Awards competition.
The International Academy of Augmented Reality (AIXR) annually awards products in 12 categories as part of the VR Awards which have made major contributions to society in their fields.
The announcement of the competition took place in Rotterdam. The Pilsen people did not win any prizes, but they considered their participation in the competition a resounding success. With their project they made it to the top nine in the healthcare category. “The fact that a recognized organization like AIXR has included us as a finalist, that is, in the same group as the best virtual reality healthcare applications in the world, is a great honour. It’s very inspiring to see what is still possible in virtual reality. It gives us motivation to keep working on VR Medical and move it forward in such a way that we continue to help people get back to normal life.” said the company founder Konstantin Novikov.
Apart from programmers, mostly scientists and doctors participated in the development. The result is a system with more than 40 diverse applications that are praised by both patients and healthcare professionals. As part of a clinical study, for example, at FN Plzeň, they investigated how virtual reality could help with the rehabilitation of people with limited function of the shoulder joint.
“Moving rehabilitation into a virtual world turns therapy sessions into an extraordinary experience. Rehabilitation treatment reduces stress for the patient, reduces the perception of pain during exercise, increases range of motion and motivation, and also trains cognitive function.” praised the headmaster of the Department of Medical Rehabilitation Andrea Kunschova.
For now, virtual reality serves as a complement. Exercises have different levels of difficulty. Getting started and setting it up is also easy. The therapist puts special glasses on the patient and then selects the appropriate content. The patient then completes simple tasks that are processed in the form of a game. Sometimes they connected the stars in the sky to form a constellation, sometimes they harvested fruit or caught fish.
VR reality serves as a supportive rehabilitation method for traumatological and orthopedic patients, it significantly helps neurological disorders or patients with movement disorders after stroke.
“An equally important part is the collection of data that shows the patient’s progress, such as their range of motion. This also offers the therapist the possibility of subsequent comparisons with previous results. The patient can sit, lie down or even stand. Tasks are used to strengthen gross motor skills and also offer cognitive exercise .” Novikov added.
“For us, applications in virtual reality are an important complement and alternative to classic rehabilitation programs, especially for patients with neurological problems. For them, gradual increases in range of motion of the upper limbs, increased individual grip and increased fine motor skills are very beneficial.” provided by the head of the rehabilitation center for adults at the Janská Lázně State Medical Spa Anna Prunerovawhere they have been using the system for over a year.
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