The computer science department of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has created a virtual-reality device that helps MS and Parkinson’s patients improve their ability to walk using visual and auditory feedback.
Researchers found that the patients displayed an improvement of nearly 13 percent while wearing the device, which includes a cell phone-sized audio component with a visual feedback apparatus (think Cyclops from X-Men).
The visual component presents users with a virtual, tile-floor image displayed on one eye. This allows the user to distinguish between the virtual floor and real obstacles, making it possible to navigate even rough terrain or stairs.
The integrated device—the first to respond to the patient’s motions rather than just providing fixed visual or auditory cues—is already in use at a number of medical centers in Israel and the United States.
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