Rewellio is an interesting new app, created by Georg Teufl. The goal is to use technology, including virtual reality, to help stroke and brain injury patients with rehabilitation. The tablet based app on its own helps with cognition, vision, and hand rehabilitation. However, paired with the Oculus Quest, Rewellio adds in even more rehabilitation options. These include arm rehabilitation training and additional visual training.
Effects of a Stroke
During a stroke, blood supply to brain tissue becomes interrupted. In turn, this oxygen loss damages brain cells. Because of the damage, strokes can affect many areas of life. These include motor function, speech, and vision. (Learn more here)
However, through neuroplasticity, other areas of the brain can help to compensate for the damaged areas. Therefore, neurorehabilitation can effectively retrain the brain. Repetition is an important factor in being able to help the brain ‘re-learn’ lost functions. Because of this, Rewellio’s VR exercises are great for helping retrain the brain.
Rewellio is meant to be used in conjunction with therapy. Rewellio is a valuable addition to working with a therapist on the more complex therapy elements. The playful approach to the app helps to motivate patients to complete these repetitive actions, all in the comfort of their own home. The tablet app keeps track of progress to help motivate the patient to continue.
VR Application for Stroke Patients
The Rewellio app can be used on its own on a tablet, but also has other optional hardware. One being the Oculus Quest VR headset, the other an EMG Biofeedback sensor. Using virtual reality “offers completely new approaches to stroke therapy”, according to Rewellio’s website.
For those who experience loss of arm function after a stroke, Rewellio’s VR app is specifically designed to help. The app learns what range of motion you do have, and helps challenge you to increase it. The virtual reality element makes this a fun approach. Also, the added training helps work alongside regular therapy appointments. One of the VR exercises in Rewellio is VR Boxing. Many stroke victims experience loss of movement in one arm. Because of this, VR Boxing reads even small movements in the affected arm. Training like this helps to motivate and challenge patients.
Rewellio also includes a virtual reality exercise focused on vision. This exercise stimulates your visual attention. In this exercise you must steer through flying objects using your head. The app tracks progress in exercises, motivating patients in a positive way.
Rewellio is already starting to help people. They have patient stories on their website, here. From reading these, Rewellio seems to be an amazing new tool for therapists in addition to stroke patients. It is exciting to see such amazing uses for virtual reality. If you’d like to check out Rewellio for yourself, information on the app download can be found here.