Visit StickyLock

Trending Now

VR Game for Combating Cerebral Palsy Developed by UNL Students

Senior students from the department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have developed a VR project that lets children affected by cerebral palsy step into the shoes of secret agents.

The students collaborated with the Munroe-Meyer Institute at the UNL Medical Center for the project named Hand-Arm Bimanual Intensive Therapy VR. It is a VR-based initiative for children affected who are suffering from cerebral palsy. One of the students, Brock Williams, a UNL senior majoring in computer science revealed that the children turn into secret agents tasked with defeating an evil escaped villain.

The participants get an opportunity to complete multiple puzzles within the gaming experience. The group is optimistic that the children might be able to develop better bimanual coordination and minimizing discrepancies related to motor control of their upper extremities. According to Williams, the team is driven to consolidate the project as they were confident about it having an instant effect on children. He revealed that creating the virtual reality offering was an enjoyable and satisfactory experience during his UNL Senior year.

James Gehringer, assistant professor of research at the Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation, expressed that the concept for this development involving VR technology started with a team of collaborating clinical therapists, engineers, and research scientists at the Munroe-Meyer Institute. Gehringer contacted UNL associate professors to gain access to the Senior Design class students. These students are mostly responsible for creating projects related to mobile development, web development, analytics, and simulation-based offerings involving augmented reality and virtual reality.

Student developer Brock Williams is testing the virtual reality game. Image source: unl

Gehringer, who is also one of the developers of the VR project, remarked that each of the game’s puzzles has been designed to utilise designated sets of frequent physical movements that could be employed within a physical therapy space.

According to Williams, a player of the virtual reality game should be able to utilise both hands and much of their upper body for solving the puzzles within it. Williams spoke about the common observation that individuals with cerebral palsy generally tend to have a dominant arm for performing their tasks. So, the gaming experience stresses on them equally using both hands. Williams informed through an email that the VR-based project utilises the therapies and tasks offered by HABIT by presenting it as an exciting narrative VR video game.

According to Williams, the game also lets the therapists and patients interact by utilising its inbuilt interaction features. He said that the students had developed a UI named the Therapist User Interface that enables therapists to personalise the gameplay for the benefit of patients. Williams expressed that customising the experiences for players let therapists communicate with the player within the game, is a way to craft relationships between the patient and sponsors. According to Williams, the team comprising of 10 students faced some challenges in generating familiarity with utilising technologies for developing the game. According to Bohn, most of the students participating in the project were not experienced with VR technology. They had to learn about VR development for the project.

Join the Discussion


Visit StickyLock
Back to top