Tomsk residents developed an application for a VR headset to improve the efficiency of rehabilitation of people who have suffered injuries and have musculoskeletal disorders. Everyone in Tomsk will be able to test the system between August and October.
As the author of the VR project Nikolay Muraviov told vtomske.ru, the project was created to make modern rehabilitation technologies available to everyone, regardless of their location and income level of a person. “I got the idea after being injured. Gradually, I started to implement the project. In the beginning, I developed a complex computer version, which, with the help of my colleagues, has been transferred into a lighter version of a special program for portable VR headsets. This is an intermediate option. In the future, we plan to create an application for mobile phones, which anyone can download and use to exercise at home with a VR headsets. But first, we need to improve this version,” said Nikolay Muraviov.
According to Nikolay, with the help of a VR headset, the program “substitutes” the human body with a virtual one, and a person can move their virtual limbs, thereby training their own arms and legs. “Through such physical therapy, there form new neural connections with the paralyzed limbs and new skills (the lost ones, to be precise) are established in the brain. Through visual control and without actually moving their leg, a person can raise their virtual leg, therefore deceiving the brain. And the brain, in turn, seeing the virtual leg move, will send signals to real one in the form of contractions, stimulating the muscles. People who have already tested the program say that they felt chilling or tingling sensations in their legs when they controlled their virtual legs,” the founder of the project said.
Nikolay Muraviov noted that in the future, in addition to the headsets, it is planned to create a special suit that stimulates paralyzed limbs. “It will be put on a person and simultaneously with doing the VR training, it will stimulate the muscles of the limb that we are working on. <...> The goal of the project is the rehabilitation of people with musculoskeletal disorders. This will not completely cure a person, but it is an auxiliary component that can be used along with massage, physical therapy, and exercising with a coach,” said Nikolay Muraviov.
All people in Tomsk with musculoskeletal disorders, as well as those who have phantom limb pains, are invited to take part in testing the application with the use of VR headsets between August and October. Training will be free, according to the project’s founders. To take part in the project and test the application, Tomsk residents have to fill out the questionnaire and come to the training. After registration, the organizers will inform the participants about the place where the training will take place.