NWO grant for research into use of virtual reality in visual rehabilitation at home
NWO has awarded a grant of €2.7 million to a partnership between lead researcher UMCG, Koninklijke Visio and various other healthcare providers and academic institutions including Tilburg University. The aim is to develop care for people with visual complaints after a stroke. The research therein from the Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences (TSHD) uses artificial intelligence and brain scans to predict success of Virtual Reality (VR)-based home rehabilitation of such patients.
Koen Haak of the Department of Cognitive Science & Artificial Intelligence (TSHD) is participating in the consortium with a PhD student and postdoc: "What makes this care special is that it can be delivered at home using VR. The training itself is quite intensive, lengthy, and not equally effective for everyone. Our role within this project is to develop so-called neuroimaging biomarkers that predict how effective the training is going to be for specific individuals and how to make a training as efficiently as possible for a particular person.'
About half of people who have had a stroke, experience half-sided blindness, also known as hemianopsia. This form of blindness occurs because a part of the brain is damaged that is responsible for seeing. In addition to physical, psychological and emotional consequences, it also affects overall health and participation in social life. Therefore rehabilitation is now being developed by the consortium in the project that will last six years.
The Tilburg collaboration VR4eVR: (pronounced VR forever) Virtual Reality for enriched Visual Rehabilitation thus combines expertise in VR technology, brain research, visual rehabilitation and serious gaming, among others. VR home training enables people to rehabilitate in their own environment, at their own pace. This also eases pressure on care and removes barriers to rehabilitation.