Virtual coaching for TBI patients

The Office of Naval Research is developing MOVER (Mobile, Virtual Enhancements for Rehabilitation) to help TBI patients maintain therapy regimens.  Confusion, forgetfulness or depression can prevent injured veterans from completing necessary exercises for rehabilitation. Featured movements include including lunges, knee raises and squats, which are standard for TBI therapy.

When a user turns on a computer and camera, he/she stands still, while MOVER maps a virtual “skeleton” of brightly colored lines and shapes.  Movements are mirrored through each exercise. To increase visibility, users can connect MOVER to a television using Microsoft Kinect.

The system coaches by displaying pop-up text boxes or color shading in areas of the virtual skeleton, highlighting where and how to correct one’s form.

A six-month pilot study of the software, with 40 TBI patients and therapists at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, will soon begin.