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Virtual reality is being used in a Billings hospital to promote recovery.

A hospital in Billings is making use of virtual reality technology to make a difference in the lives of patients looking for improved rehabilitation outcomes.

The Rehabilitation Hospital of Montana (RHOM) in Billings, Montana, has turned to advanced technologies such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence to treat patients. It has entered into partnerships with technological service providers Penumbra and BIONIK Labs to harness these technologies, according to reports by The Billings Gazette.

Dr. Jose Ortiz, a medical professional who had suffered a stroke, was taken from Red Lodge to Billings when he suffered a stroke. It took him an hour to reach there and get admitted to the hospital there. Ortiz started undergoing treatment at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Montana (RHOM). After being subjected to the technology-based therapy, he witnessed significant improvements in his condition. Earlier his left side was suffering from limpness, but the symptoms almost vanished following the treatment.

A RHOM patient has to go through a total of about three hours of rigorous treatment on a regular basis. RHOM’s association with Penumbra and BIONIK Labs has made things better for individuals who want to get rid of the pain and anxiety related to strokes and other ailments. RHOM is now Montana’s only facility relying on VR and AI to offer treatment.

Loren Wass, BIONIK Labs’ chief commercial officer, stated that medical robotics have not explored the domain of rehabilitation therapies amply yet.

The InMotion ARM, developed by BIONIK Labs, employs robotic technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) to assist patients with upper extremity rehabilitation after a neurological disease such as a stroke, according to Wass.

The patient is strapped into the technology apparatus and sits in front of a display. They clutch a lever and motion their arm to and fro, guided by games on the screen, in order to get higher repetition counts. The device can gather data and adjust to the patient’s demands owing to artificial intelligence and machine learning. The system can generate status reports, offer therapy advice, and abide by requisite treatment protocols.

A patient makes 30 to 60 movements in an hour In a typical therapy session. However, BIONIK’s InMotion ARM devices produce up to 1000 motions within the same time period. It might be difficult to expect the equipment from BIONIK Labs to be set up within residential spaces. But some of the virtual reality technology it uses can be utilised at home. RHOM CEO Jen Graves said that the REAL y-Series  product is a full-fledged virtual reality rehab system that creates intentional distractions for patients. This helps to prevent them from going into negative thinking and emotionally harmful episodes.

The REAL y-Series headset, like the Oculus, wraps over the user’s eyes to engage them inside a different world. Straps containing sensors are then affixed to the wrists, shoulders, back and upper arms to create a separate body that looks like the patient’s.

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