Virtual Reality for Rehabilitation: Tech Overview

VR for rehabilitation - ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft has a 15-year practice in healthcare software development.

The Market of VR for Rehabilitation

In 2020, the VR market in healthcare is valued at $336.9 million. It’s expected to reach $2.2 billion by 2027 growing at a CAGR of 30.7%. Rehabilitation is among the key directions of healthcare VR, driven by the opportunity of advanced progress monitoring, controlled remote rehabilitation, and increased patients’ motivation.

How Virtual Reality for Rehabilitation Works

VR system architecture

VR system architecture

Use cases

VR for neurological rehabilitation

helps patients restore postural balance and motor skills. Commonly used for stroke rehabilitation, recovery from brain and spinal cord damages.

VR for physical therapy

helps patients with limb injuries train mobility functions and overcome muscle weakness.

VR for cognitive rehabilitation

helps patients with cognitive impairment (from attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder to early dementia) improve memory, attention and problem-solving skills.

Сore features

Patient profile storage

Each patient has a personal profile with medical records, therapy program and goals, session history and progress scores.

Training program editing

The duration and difficulty of rehabilitation exercises can be adjusted – either manually by a therapist or automatically with the AI technology based on real-time feedback on user progress.

Progress tracking

The system records a patient’s actions from motion sensors, compares data with pre-set performance metrics, analyses the patient’s progress and builds its overview over time.

Real-time guidance and positive reinforcement

Virtual reality sessions include visual and/or audio hints and rewards (e.g., changing a virtual object’s color to guide movements, unlocking level badges, voicing encouragements).

Two-player mode

A therapist can join a VR session as the second avatar to show movements for a patient. Alternatively, this mode can be used for patients to train independently at the same time (optimizing a therapist’s workload) or to compete against each other (raising their interest in exercising).

Telerehabilitation

With portable VR equipment, patients can exercise at home while being monitored remotely by a therapist via the web. Such therapy is more cost-effective than in-person therapy and eases access to rehabilitation services for patients in rural/distant areas.

Success Stories of Virtual Reality for Rehabilitation

According to the research, VR-based software VirtualRehab helped patients improve dynamic balance by 20% (on Tinetti Scale) and static balance by 40% (on Berg Scale) and decrease fatigue scores by 47% (on the Fatigue Impact Scale) and levels of anxiety by 13% (on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale).

A startup that developed XRHealth, a gamified VR rehabilitation system registered by the FDA, earned $750,000 in the first year of its foundation (2016) and raised $3.3m in the seed round next year. XRHealth raised $15 million in total up to 2020.

Looking to Enter the Market of VR for Rehab?
ScienceSoft’s team is ready to develop efficient and engaging systems for physical and cognitive rehabilitation – let’s discuss your VR product idea.

General Technology Stack

3D modeling

Autodesk 3ds Max
Adobe Photoshop

VR engine

Unreal Engine (C++)
Unity (C#)

Cloud database

Note: The cloud-based infrastructure is a suggested choice as it provides scalability and enhanced performance capacity for data-intensive VR.

Amazon RDS
Amazon S3
Azure SQL

HMD (for fully immersive VR)

HTC Vive series
Oculus Go
Samsung Gear VR
Lenovo Mirage Solo

Motion sensors

Microsoft Kinect
Leap Motion
Myo Gesture Control Armband

Challenges and Solutions of VR for Rehab

Challenge #1

As VR programs for rehabilitation are often intended for use by the elderly, there may be issues related to usability and adoption among these user groups.

Check out the solution

Solution:

Investing resources in usability testing with such methods as, for example, cognitive walkthrough and heuristic evaluation.

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Challenge #2

Virtual reality technology with the telerehabilitation function may expose patients to certain safety risks, e.g., excessive exercising, which can be hard for a therapist to anticipate remotely.

Check out the solution

Solution:

Enhancing a VR hardware kit with medical sensors (pulse or ECG sensors) that constantly provide data on a patient’s condition and warns a therapist through the VR system in case of abnormal activity.

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Cost Factors of VR for Rehabilitation

General cost factors

  • Content (number of 3D models) and software to render it.
  • Number of user roles.
  • Number and complexity of training programs.

Additional cost factors

  • VR hardware.
  • Development and integration with machine learning algorithms (for user performance assessment).
  • VR testing (clinical validation and usability testing) and optimization.

Operational costs

  • Cloud services (based on the volume of cloud resources demanded).

VR for Rehabilitation: Consulting and Development by ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft relies on 15-year experience in healthcare software development to build high-performing VR solutions aimed at enhancing therapy of different health conditions.

VR for rehabilitation: consulting

Our consultants help:

  • Decide on the system’s functionality.
  • Choose the right tech stack.
  • Design a scalable architecture.
  • Define product development and management roadmap.
  • Estimate TCO of the VR system.
  • Estimate ROI.

VR for rehabilitation: development

The service covers all the stages of VR system creation:

  • Business analysis and research.
  • Architecture design.
  • 3D modeling.
  • UX and UI design.
  • Software development.
  • VR testing.
  • Continuous support and evolution.

About ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft is an international IT consultancy and software development company established in 1989, with 700 employees on board. Explore our VR app development offer in detail or get in touch with our team directly to discuss your product idea.