Using Virtual Reality Environment to Facilitate Training With Advanced Upper-Limb ProsthesisBy Resnik, Linda; Etter, Katherine; Klinger, Shana Lieberman; Kambe, Charles; Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, Vol. 48, No. 6, pp. 707-718
Publication Date: 2011
Paper provides highlights from the authors’ experiences implementing a virtual reality environment (VRE) in training upper limb amputees to use the DEKA Arm. The DEKA Arm system allows users 10 powered degrees of movement. Learning to control these movements by utilizing a set of motions that mostly differ from those used to obtain the desired action prior to amputation is a challenge for users. In the Department of Veterans Affairs “Study to Optimize the DEKA Arm,” researchers attempted to facilitate motor learning by using a VRE program. This program consisted of a real-time 3-D avatar that simulated the movement of the DEKA Arm system. The avatar comprised a full torso and head, with both upper limbs intact, as well as visual information on selected grip and arm mode. The VRE was customizable in that it could be configured to represent a left or a right amputee and could be used for all levels of upper-limb amputations. Study participants used their prosthetic controls to operate the virtual arm of the avatar on the VRE screen. A case example is presented of a 55-year-old male patient with a left unilateral forequarter amputation who, after being fitted with the DEKA Arm, participated in about 3.5 hours of VRE training in 8 sessions. Participant used 16 controls to operate the arm. It appeared that use of the VRE facilitated his learning process, and the authors conclude that training with VRE is particularly valuable for upper limb amputees who must master a large number of controls. Implications for future research and implementation of VRE in amputee rehabilitation are discussed.
VA Rehabilitation Research & Development Service (Web Site: http://www.rehab.research.va.gov )
Link to text: http://www.rehab.research.va.gov/jour/11/486/resnik2486.html