This paper is designed to introduce the reader to the use of virtual environments (VE) in rehabilitation by describing the theoretical and practical basis for the technique. Clinically relevant aspects of visual display devices which are available for use in VE are discussed. Next, key features of a VE system developed by the authors and colleagues are presented. The system is designed to enhance motor learning through the use of augmented feedback provided by a virtual teacher. Finally, preliminary clinical findings from a study in which the system was utilized to retrain UE motor control in subjects with chronic stroke are reported. Following treatment, subjects were found to have significant (p<0.05) improvements in the Fugl-Meyer Test of Motor Recovery, the Wolf Motor Test, and selected strength tests.
© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.