VR4REHAB is een Interreg North-West Europe project en daarom is de voertaal Engels.
€ 2.4 million grant to develop virtual reality in rehabilitation
The Interreg North-West Europe Programme has awarded € 2.4 million to a new European consortium, led by the Sint Maartenskliniek, for a project developing virtual reality (VR) applications for rehabilitation programs. This three-year VR4REHAB project will bring together companies, universities and rehabilitation clinics to develop and research VR applications designed to improve rehabilitation treatments and accelerate the recovery process.
The field of virtual reality (VR) is growing rapidly across the globe. In healthcare, particularly in the rehabilitation sector, VR is still a very new development. For the last 80 years, the Sint Maartenskliniek has specialized in treating problems relating to posture and movement, and boasts its own rehabilitation department. The hospital has several years of experience with VR in the shape of the GRAIL walking simulator. The clinic is now set to head a European consortium of partners from industry, universities and rehabilitation clinics in developing new VR applications to help patients on their road to recovery. The consortium consists of:
- Sint Maartenskliniek (NL)
- European Association for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (BE)
- St. Mauritius Therapieklinik (DE)
- Teesside University (UK)
- Royal Free London NHS Trust (UK)
- Université de Lille 1 - Sciences et Technologies (FR)
- Games for Health (NL)
In addition to their know-how, the consortium members will also provide a financial contribution, giving the VR4REHAB project a budget of over € 4 million for the next three years.
Sticking to therapy
Project leader Remco Hoogendijk, also manager of innovation at the Sint Maartenskliniek, not only expects VR4REHAB to improve rehabilitation programs for patients, but also thinks it will make them more enjoyable: “VR provides unlimited opportunities for making therapy enjoyable. We hope that this will encourage patients to stick to their rehab programs. Digital (VR) games, including sensors, enable us to measure what happens to patients while they practice. They also make it relatively simple to adjust the exercises to a patient’s individual needs. What’s more, they’re all compact and portable. At present, our patients practice on the GRAIL walking simulator in the clinic, which is a cumbersome piece of equipment; I’d like patients to be able to take GRAIL home with them in future.”
Various activities will be organized as part of the VR4REHAB project over the next few years. They will challenge developers, knowledge institutes and rehabilitation clinics to develop VR rehabilitation tools that meet the requirements of both patients and therapists. At the same time, the project will monitor the effect that this VR therapy has on patients. Hoogendijk: “The project could give rehabilitation clinics a huge boost in terms of treatment outcomes, while also creating chances for VR companies to penetrate a new market.”