Jamie O'Brien

n714827055 6167
Awarded VEIV EngD

In the field of post-stroke rehabilitation, there appears to be growing interest in the use of virtual reality (VR)-based systems as adjunct technologies to standard therapeutic practices. The limitations and the potentials of this technology are not, however, generally well understood. The present study thus seeks to determine the value of the technology with reference to end-user requirements by surveying and evaluating its application against a variety of parameters: user focus, clinical effectiveness, marketability and contextual meaningfulness, etc. A key theme in the research considers how a technology developed internationally might interface with care provision demands and cultures specific to the United Kingdom. The barriers to innovation entry in this context are thus examined. Further practical study has been conducted in the field with a small sample of post-stroke rehabilitation patients. The data garnered from these enquiries have informed a detailed system analysis, a strategy for innovation and a broad theoretical discussion as to the effectiveness of the technology in delivering VR environments by which the patient can undertake ‘meaningful’ therapeutic activities. The data reveal that there does appear to be clinical value in using this technology, yet establishing its maximal value necessitates greater integrity among clinicians and engineers, and the furthering of progressive channels for innovation by public health administrators.

In the field of post-stroke rehabilitation, there appears to be growing interest in the use ofvirtual reality (VR)-based systems as adjunct technologies to standard therapeutic practices.The limitations and the potentials of this technology are not, however, generally wellunderstood. The present study thus seeks to determine the value of the technology withreference to end-user requirements by surveying and evaluating its application against avariety of parameters: user focus, clinical effectiveness, marketability and contextualmeaningfulness, etc. A key theme in the research considers how a technology developedinternationally might interface with care provision demands and cultures specific to the UnitedKingdom.

The barriers to innovation entry in this context are thus examined. Further practicalstudy has been conducted in the field with a small sample of post-stroke rehabilitation patients.The data garnered from these enquiries have informed a detailed system analysis, a strategyfor innovation and a broad theoretical discussion as to the effectiveness of the technology indelivering VR environments by which the patient can undertake ‘meaningful’ therapeuticactivities. The data reveal that there does appear to be clinical value in using this technology,yet establishing its maximal value necessitates greater integrity among clinicians andengineers, and the furthering of progressive channels for innovation by public healthadministrators.

Primary Supervisor: Prof Alan Penn

Industry Sponsor: NHS

System Interactions