Rehabilitation centres typically focus only on physical health, however something that we think is often overlooked is the toll that chronic pain can have on your mental health. It can affect your ability to function at home and work. It can lead to things like sleep disturbances, fatigue, trouble concentrating, decreased appetite, and mood changes. So unlike standard physical therapy treatment, we aim to aid both mental and physical health through both meditation and exercises.
Our rehabilitation centre is built for people with chronic back and/or upper extremity pain. Over 84% of adults in the US will experience chronic back pain at some point in their lifetime, making it one of the most common reasons one might seek physical therapy.
Virtual Reality is often seen as a toy; something people use to play video games. We wanted to investigate how something considered so juvenile could be used in a more mature rehabilitation setting. We consulted an occupational therapist to learn more about what it takes to conduct successful physical therapy. We were able to recognize that people are more motivated to commit to their rehabilitation program if it’s fun and enjoyable. Our therapy is built to encourage patients to work through each level and finish the game.
What it does
Our program takes users through a gamified rehabilitation process through climbing, meditation, and guided physical exercises targeted for individuals with chronic back or upper extremity pain.
This particular program was based around a rotary cuff injury.
- Climbing Exercise- Demonstration on how to climb in VR. Will be repeated many times throughout the program.
- Isotonic Scaption Exercise - Practice this exercise 20 times. [optional: add 2-5 pound weights]. Once completed, continue climbing.
- Healing Meditation - Follow along with the audio. Once completed, continue climbing.
- Tin Soldier Exercise- Practice this exercise 20 times, in 2 sets of 10. Once completed, continue climbing.
- Push Up Plus Exercise - Practice this exercise 10 times, in 2 sets of 5. Once completed, continue climbing.
- Depression Meditation - Follow along with the audio. Once completed, continue climbing.
- Prone Arms Exercise- Prone Arms at 120 degrees. Practice this exercise 20 times, holding your arms up for a second each time. Once completed, continue climbing.
- Prone Press Ups Exercise- Prone Press Ups. Practice this exercise 20 times, in 2 sets of 10. Once completed, continue climbing.
- Anxiety Meditation - Follow along with the audio.
How we built it
Our project was built with Unity and C# using VR Interaction Framework. The demos of the exercises we used were animated ourselves in Unity using VeryAnimations. We also created our own UI using Figma.
Challenges we ran into
It was the first time we animated from scratch, so it took some time to figure out the timeframes and movement. Brainstorming our project idea such as the incorporated exercises and the structure of our rehabilitation program was an unexpected challenge.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Incorporating medical research with technology was a large accomplishment for our team using virtual reality. Completing a hackathon in person and in a different country was a first for most of us, so we were proud of the work we were able to get done.
What we learned
Primarily, we focused on learning how to animate through this hackathon. We also spent quite some time learning about the most effective way to implement physical therapy in VR.