Virtual Reality (VR) concepts have existed for more than three decades, however the industry has only recently started to demonstrate its potential use in a variety of markets. The largest VR market is currently the entertainment world. However, VR environments are now increasingly being used in areas such as manufacturing, training, heritage, and architecture. The healthcare sector is another prominent market that is beginning to make use of virtual and augmented reality for training, administering of surgical procedures, mental health, and rehabilitation practices. The support of patient recovery is an application particularly well suited to VR, and there are a number of emerging applications that address brain injury assessment, orthopaedic rehabilitation, balance exercises and cognitive fidelity. While these vary in configuration, most use ‘off-the-shelf’ controllers with limited scope for adaptation, and concern single users interacting only with the practitioner.
The H2020 PRIME-VR2 project - Personalised recovery through a multi-user environment: Virtual Reality for Rehabilitation - involves the creation of an end-to-end integrated digital development platform to facilitate collaboration across stakeholders in the VR ecosystem, and to produce effective VR rehabilitation environments.
The research result will be a platform that can deliver bespoke physical access hardware and psychologically-sensitive digital environments. The platform will be applied and tested with rehabilitation patients with upper body motor impairment particularly of the hands, fingers, wrists and forearms. Its effectiveness will be measured against key recovery success indicators and the engagement of end users at three living labs across Europe. While this application will provide a highly challenging physical and psychological context, the principles of customisation, participation, and digital integration will be agenda-setting for the enhancement of VR experiences in other demanding areas such as sports rehabilitation, wider disability access, high-end gaming, and industrial applications.
The PRIME-VR2 Consortium is multi-disciplinary, encompassing expertise in Virtual Reality, Additive Manufacturing, 3D geometrical form generation, User Interface design, User-Centred design, electronics design, systems integration and rehabilitation.
The Consortium includes:
five academic partners who will drive the research agenda
six SME partners who will focus on technological implementation
three Living Labs who will provide distinct test beds
Università di Pisa (Italy)
(coordinator of the project)
University of Strathclyde (Scotland)
University of Malta (Malta)
University of Oulu (Finland)
University College London (UK)
Loud1Design Ltd. (Scotland)
Flying Squirrel Games (Malta)
Capitola Digital BV (Netherlands)
Crowdhelix Network (Ireland)
Global Disability Innovation Hub (UK)
Saint James Hospital (Malta)
This project has been funded by the European Commission as part of the H2020 program, under the Grant Agreement 856998.
The PRIME-VR2 project will start on October 1st 2019, will last 3 years and has been granted 4Ml Euros.