Interactive Visuotactile Virtual Environment and Vision Therapy

Abstract:

In this paper, we propose a novel approach of using interactive virtual environment technology in Vision Restoration Therapy caused by Traumatic Brain Injury. We called the new system Interactive Visuotactile Virtual Environment and it holds a promise of expanding the scope of already existing rehabilitation techniques. Traditional vision rehabilitation methods are based on passive psychophysical training procedures, and can last up to six months before any modest improvements can be seen in patients. A highly immersive and interactive virtual environment will allow the patient to practice everyday activities such as object identification and object manipulation through the use 3D motion sensoring handheld devices such data glove or the Nintendo Wiimote. Employing both perceptual and action components in the training procedures holds the promise of more efficient sensorimotor rehabilitation. Increased stimulation of visual and sensorimotor areas of the brain should facilitate a comprehensive recovery of visuomotor function by exploiting the plasticity of the central nervous system. Integrated with a motion tracking system and an eye tracking device, the interactive virtual environment allows for the creation and manipulation of a wide variety of stimuli, as well as real-time recording of hand-, eye- and body movements and coordination. The goal of the project is to design a cost-effective and efficient vision restoration system.

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Abstract:

Stroke is the second greatest killer and one of the leading causes of disability. One of the results of stroke is the partial loss of vision with apparent blindness in certain parts of the visual field. Current vision restoration therapy and rehabilitation methods have not shown permanent treatment results for this type of partial loss of vision. Our research proposes the framework to design and develop a computer based vision restoration training and therapy system using Natural User Interfaces (NUIs) in an Interactive Visuotactile 3D Virtual Environment (IV-3DVE). This paper presents a proposed framework for the IV-3DVE system for visual restoration for stroke patients. This paper also provides a brief introduction to vision restoration treatment, the use of virtual environment technologies in sensorimotor rehabilitation, and natural user interfaces.

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