Vestibular Disorders are medical conditions that affect the vestibular system, and can be caused by a variety of issues including infection, inner ear problem, or brain injuries. The vestibular system is a sensory responsible for providing our brain with information about motion, head position, and spatial orientation; it also is involved with motor functions that allow us to keep our balance, stabilize our head and body during movement, and maintain posture.
To help treat vestibular disorders, some individuals will receive specialized treatment programs referred to as vestibular rehabilitation. The specifics of treatment may vary by individual but can include special exercises, assessments, and gradual exposure to stimulus in a controlled environment that is known to cause symptoms so that individuals can learn self-management techniques and re-train the brain to recognise signals from the vestibular system correctly.
This project aims to create a virtual environment that enables patients to be placed in real-world scenarios that would normally trigger symptoms, such as travelling inside a car or walking down a busy grocery store aisle, however in a flexible and simulated VR environment, reducing the chance of injury while performing the treatment tasks and exercises. This would allow for new therapy practices that was not previously possible.
With the addition of real-time sensor data, these scenarios can be adapted in response to the patient’s comfort level to personalize the exercises to each patient’s stage of recovery and preferences.