Although repetitive attention training for cognitive rehabilitation has shown to be effective for traumatic brain injury (TBI), training involves considerable time and attention from the therapist and sadly this resource is often limited three hours per day even though a majority of patients could tolerate more. Virtual reality (VR) and robotic technology has already shown promise in rehabilitation by motivating patients, tracking progress, and providing an engaging experience. What has not been shown in previous TBI studies however, is a randomized, placebo-controlled study on the effectiveness of this type of VR-based therapy. We propose to exploit the unique ability of VR to provide an extremely minimal environment (cursor and target) with no distractions. Using a state-of-the-art integrated haptics/graphic VR systems already developed in the RIC Robotics Lab, the goal of this project is to evaluate a minimal VR/robotic clinical intervention on inpatients (Rancho IV and V level patients) to determine its influence on attention and several other important factors. Our specific aims include the (1) preliminary testing, (2) a prolonged clinical intervention, and (3) early steps to transfer this technology to a viable product to be purchased and used in the clinic.
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This study aims to evaluate a virtual reality/robotic clinical intervention on inpatients for improving attention and concentration in early stages of traumatic brain injury recovery. All treatments are done while the participant is an inpatient at RIC.